After 24 years with us…

Last updated: 10.45am, Thursday 28th May 2020 by

…our longest serving Board Member, Charlotte Levy, has decided to call it a day!

First elected back in September 1996, Charlotte has been one of our loyal, passionate, faithful and constant supporters. She served five years as our Vice Chair before becoming our fourth Chair, for a further five years back in 2002.

Charlotte has an ongoing and constant love affair with Committees! She is effective in leading them, steering them and ensuring that their governance arrangements are strong. The Nolan principles of leadership, selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, honesty and leadership, set out in 1995, were values very dear to Charlotte many years before they became fashionable.

This love affair started accidentally many years ago, at an end of season dance at Clyde Football Club. She had a passion for helping people but just wasn’t quite sure how to go about channelling her desire and enthusiasm. Having a slight, but not serious disability, her first taste of Committee work transpired from that end of season dance into an East End Forum for Disability. This then progressed into a network of eight forums which fought for the rights of disabled people across the city of Glasgow. Constantly seeking financial assistance to keep the Forum alive, Charlotte was successful in securing a grant to help relocate the Forum to Bridgeton Library, (now Glasgow Women’s Library). During this period she became, as a conscientious Committee member, obsessed with cash-flow which is something that has remained with her throughout her time on Committees.

Who would have thought that poaching was alive and well in Glasgow? Well in 1993 Charlotte was ‘poached’ by the city’s Director of Education and was initially asked to join Crossroads Care in its local office in Shettleston as their Chairperson, and then subsequently their main Board.

In 1995 we acquired around 1,500 properties in the East End of Glasgow, from what was Scottish Homes. One of those houses that Thenue bought was Charlotte’s. Not unhappy with the transfer from Scottish Homes to Thenue, but very unhappy with the degree of tenant consultation and involvement, Charlotte decided that it was time to let her feelings be known! Well that was the start of a long-lasting, meaningful, sometimes challenging, but always cordial relationship!

After taking out Housing Association Membership, she was subsequently invited to participate in Thenue’s Management Committee. Charlotte sees the word “participation” as a bit of a bland noun. Participation was not enough for Charlotte. She threw her whole self into what became the ‘Thenue project’ which unfortunately for Crossroads meant that there was not enough of her to spread around. Crossroads’ loss was Thenue’s gain.

During that time with Thenue, she did subsequently find time to be part of what was the Bridgeton and Calton Community Council. Jousting and learning with some formidable characters helped mould her into a strong formidable character herself. However, she has an ear to listen and to reason, and when persuaded, is happy to concede a point. She is not dogmatic for the sake of it, but in a true Ronseal way, (you get exactly what it says on the tin), our Board, and before that our Management Committee, has lost count of the number of times she has asked the question… ”and how many central heating systems will that pay for?”

Charlotte, true to her principles of continual learning and development, was nominated by Thenue, to form part of SHARE’s Management Committee back in 2000. This she has taken on with great enthusiasm and energy. She has maintained this interest, and helped steer SHARE for 15 years.

She was and she is, like a dog with a bone, wanting nothing for herself, but everything achievable and financially possible for her tenants. By “financially possible” we mean working methodically through gradual modernisation and improvement programmes, eventually seeing that through to 2014, when Thenue achieved its full Scottish Housing Quality Standard compliance programme. During that period, Charlotte was elected to the position of Vice Chair, (1997 to 2002) and went on to become the Association’s fourth Chair, (2002 to 2007). She was the first to establish the principle that the Chair of a community controlled housing association, must in fact always be a local resident. That was then and has been that way ever since.

Charlotte likes to achieve things, not for her, but for others, so that in her own words, “ordinary people get a better deal”. What she thrives on is ironing out difficulties, reaching a consensus achieving results. She never walks away and likes a challenge.

Charlotte is one of the most selfless people we have known; she would never see anyone stuck, and she has helped with the governance of not just one, or two, or three, or four, or five, or six, or seven, but eight voluntary Committees, cumulatively spanning over 60 years given to voluntary committees, which is why she deserves a big ‘thank you’ from all of us!