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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Chief encounters: Sally Thomas

This feature is about 6 years old

​What makes Scottish Federation of Housing Associations boss Sally Thomas tick?

What makes a good day at work?

Eating the frog (getting the most difficult thing done first off). Good feedback from members. Staff on top form, as most days.

How many hours do you normally work in a week?

Not enough to do everything I want without falling off the work-life balance tightrope.

What do you procrastinate over?

How to come across as intelligent, witty, interesting and serious in questionnaires like this.

What turns you into the office Victor Meldrew?

The email server being down and/or the plants not being watered.

Sally Thomas
Sally Thomas

Is the third sector a calling or an accident?

A calling. I’ve worked in the public, private and third sectors. This is home.

What happens during your perfect weekend?

A yoga workshop. Time to think. A great film. Walking on the beach.

What’s your favourite album?

Then – Pulp, Different Class. Now – The War on Drugs, Under the Pressure

Would we all be better off if charities did more in our society?

Absolutely, if we’re talking about housing associations and co-operatives – the only housing providers with social justice built in – a great home, in a successful community, with support and care when you need it.

What’s your new year’s resolution?

Personal – using less plastic. Professional – to strengthen SFHA’s role as the leading voice for housing in Scotland.

You’re home, fully fed with your feet up – which comes first Eastenders or Facebook?

Neither – Instagram and Instastories.

Is this a step on the ladder or your final destination?

Who knows what the future may hold, but I’m loving the new challenges that working at SFHA brings, and I’m excited about our future.

What do you think is the main strengths of the Scottish charity sector?

Independence, energy, passion and empathy. In terms of housing associations and co-operatives I am proud of the sheer scale and range of work that our members have developed to help tenants and residents make the best of their lives, whether it’s access to employment, health initiatives or training for young people.

What are the big challenges facing housing associations over the coming year?

Delivering the lion’s share of the Scottish Government’s 50,000 affordable homes that are best in class, affordable, energy efficient, digitally enabled and adapted, so people can stay in them longer; helping people navigate their way through the welfare and social security landscape; managing and maintaining existing homes while keeping costs affordable; tackling inequality and poverty; and supporting strong, successful communities.

What does your dream retirement look like?

Co-housing with friends. Teaching yoga. Going around the world for a year. Mentoring young women.

Brian Denis Cox or Brian Edward Cox?

Neither – Jo Cox.