Strategy team blog

Keep up to date with the housing strategy team to see what we've been up to. 

April 22

May 22

June 22

July 22

Aug 22

Sept 22


April 2022

This month the Housing Strategy Team began the first stage of engagement opportunities to help inform the upcoming Local Housing Strategy 2023 - 2028, which sets out a 5 year plan for housing within East Lothian.

We were all-ears to find out about the challenges different equality groups face in terms of housing. We heard from those working in the Third-Sector groups and colleagues within East Lothian Council. We teamed up with East Lothian’s Health and Social Care Partnership and our own Planning Department, we created a virtual space for discussions around the key housing issues and how these may be fixed.

Missed out on our workshops? Get in touch with us at on or use our DIY engagement pack for your own discussions - which will soon be made available on our consultation page.

Aware of the impact rising energy prices are having across East Lothian, we have produced an information leaflet on fuel poverty. It provides clear details on where to find and how to access support if you are struggling to heat your home: read our leaflet about managing energy bills and heating your home.


May 2022 

This month the Housing Strategy team continued in their engagement efforts, asking community groups, colleagues and the general public their attitudes towards housing within East Lothian.

Our colleagues at Action for Children, worked with us to host a workshop at New Horizons in Haddington, which offers temporary accommodation and support for homeless young people. We spoke to current and previous residents who shared their experiences of being young and homeless in East Lothian. We also explored what changes they’d like to see in housing services in East Lothian, reflecting on what helped them most.

We met with women accessing Women’s Aid East and Mid Lothian (WAEML), a charitable organisation who provide support and refuge accommodation for women subjected to domestic abuse. They gave us their unique perspective on housing issues within East Lothian and what should be done to help victims/survivors of domestic abuse regain their safety.

We joined Stepping Out’s Musselburgh group, a charity organising activities and offering support to adults with mental health issues, in their beautiful healing garden. We had conversations with group members and staff around challenges they have faced and their priorities for housing and housing services. We are looking forward to having a similar event with Stepping Out’s North Berwick group.

Colleagues from East Lothian Council’s Musselburgh and Prestonpans Community Housing Team joined us for a virtual workshop. With a wealth of experience in their roles, including housing officers, tenancy support officers and housing assistants, they spoke of the current housing services provided by East Lothian Council and what could be done in the future. We will continue to have these conversations with Community Housing colleagues from other areas of the county.

East Lothian’s public were asked their opinions on rural housing through a survey shared widely across social media- reaching over 200 respondents. The survey, available on our consultation page, will stay open until 6 June. A new survey on a different housing topic will be created and made available over the next month. You can find the survey on our Consultation Hub.

The search continues for private rented sector landlords and tenants within East Lothian to participate in our research, delivered by Arneil Johnston. If you are interested in sharing your experiences of the private rented sector contact us at:

June 2022

Out and About in Haddington, Gifford and Prestonpans 

This month, the Housing Strategy Team began engagement within East Lothian’s Area Partnerships, being warmly welcomed into community-led groups based in Haddington, Gifford and Prestonpans.

We discussed what home means with ‘Primary 4 to 7’s’ attending a Haddington youth group, through the use drawings and building-block structures. A youth group for those of secondary-school-age in Haddington invited us along to chat housing and growing up in East Lothian. A similar session was held with teenagers at a youth group in Prestonpans. There we saw the importance of creating safe-spaces for young people to interact and get support when needed.

The Housing Strategy team also dropped into a lunch-club based group in Prestonpans, to find out the housing challenges and priorities for the area from those aged over-60. We will be attending more community-led activities within each of the Area Partnerships next month- keep an eye out for us.

Youth Homelessness in East Lothian

We continued our discussion on youth homelessness in East Lothian. We heard from those working at New Horizons- who offer temporary accommodation and support for homeless young people. They spoke of what can and should be done to help those already experiencing youth homelessness as well as how to prevent this from happening to future young people. We also spoke to homeless young people living in a temporary accommodation, provided by Blue Triangle. They shared their experiences and housing hopes for the future.

Joining East Lothain Work's ESOL Classes

We joined East Lothian Work’s ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) class, who deliver English language courses in East Lothian. We were invited into two virtual classes to speak all things housing in East Lothian and their ideas of improving services and community connectedness in the county.

Hearing from East Lothian Council Colleagues

We held more virtual workshops for colleagues within East Lothian Council. The ‘Occupational Therapy and Acute Hospital’ team shared their knowledge on adapting people’s homes to help them live more independently and the impact Covid-19 had has on services. They addressed the issues a delayed stay in hospital, from not having a suitable house to go home to, can have on a person and their family, and discussed possible solutions for this.

We also spoke to colleagues within the ‘Homeless Response team', who discussed with us the challenges within their role, and what can be done to ensure the effectiveness of housing services within East Lothian. We plan to continue these workshops with other teams within the Council in the next month.

Housing for Veterans 

We explored the unique housing challenges faced by veterans through a virtual workshop, attended by East Lothian Council colleagues and representatives from third-sector groups- including Poppy Scotland and Veterans Housing Scotland. They spoke of the support already available in East Lothian for veterans and how this can be improved to help veterans find homes and live happily in them, such as ensuring homes are easily adaptable.

'Stepping Out' North Berwick 

We were invited along to Stepping Out’s(a charity offering support to those living with mental health issues/illness) lunch group in North Berwick. Over a cup of tea, the group shared with us their lives in East Lothian, and their main concerns for housing- such as the raising energy prices and wheelchair access within properties. 

Making Musselburgh Dementia Friendly

The Housing Strategy Team and colleagues from The Health and Social Care Partnership joined Dementia Friendly East Lothian for their event at Queen Margret University. The event focused on the progress made to establish a ‘Meeting Centre’ for those living with dementia and their families in Musselburgh. The attendees, including those living with dementia, those caring for them, and members of Alzheimer Scotland, also shared with us how homes, spaces and neighbourhoods can be friendlier to those with dementia.

Have Your Say - Private Sector Landlord survey

Our survey for private landlords of East Lothian properties, delivered by Arneil Johnston, launched this month. The 10-minute survey looks at the key issues faced by landlords, and is hoped to expand knowledge on the private rented sector within the county for the upcoming Local Housing Strategy. Landlords of East Lothian- have your say here. A survey designed for private sector tenants will soon be available.

July 2022

Area Partnership Engagement

This month, the housing strategy team were invited to more community groups within the Preston, Seton, Gosford area partnership to chat all things housing.

We were invited to ‘Lunch with the Bunch’ in Prestonpans, a project run by the ‘Pennypit Trust’ for those over 60 to come together for a blether and a meal. There, members spoke of adapting homes to suit needs and growing older in East Lothian.

We were put through our paces at Port Seton’s ‘Walking Football’. Participants, who come from all over East Lothian, spoke of the growing concerns over the cost of living and their priorities for infrastructure within the county.

Virtual Workshops with East Lothian Council Colleagues

We continued virtual workshops with colleagues from East Lothian Council’s housing department.

The ‘Accommodation’ team discussed with us the impact of hidden homelessness and the importance of housing education for young people.

We heard of the positive work Tenancy Support Officers do within the community and the growing need of the service.

The Prevention team addressed the importance of promoting prevention services to reduce homelessness and discussed potential consequences of the cost of living crisis.

Have your say

July launched the third in our series of housing surveys. This month focused on the needs of older people, looking at the current and future priorities for homes and services as we age in East Lothian. The survey is available here and will close on 8 August.

Our survey aimed at those aged 16 to 30 will be available through the Consultation Hub on 8 August. This survey will ask the current housing needs, future goals and concerns from young adults within East Lothian.  

Research into East Lothian’s private rented sector continued this month and will run throughout August. Tenants and landlords are still needed to voice their thoughts in our surveys. 

August 2022

Hearing from colleagues

This month, the Housing Strategy Team spoke to colleagues within the Criminal Justice team to discuss the housing challenges for those they work with. They spoke of the difficulties found when leaving prison, concerns over the cost of living and the potential changes they would like to see for future housing and housing services in East Lothian.  

Young people of East Lothian

This month launched our survey for those aged 16 to 30 to share their own thoughts on housing in East Lothian. Hearing from this group allows for an understanding of the unique challenges and concerns for young people in East Lothian, how they want to live in the future and any potential barriers to these plans. The survey is available hereand is open until 7 September.

Tenants and Landlord within the Private Rented Sector

Research continued into the private rented sector. Surveys for tenants and landlords within the private rented sector in East Lothian ran throughout the month and will close on the 4 September.

September 2022

Final Consultations for the Upcoming Local Housing Strategy

This September, the Housing Strategy Team concluded the initial consultations for the upcoming Local Housing Strategy with a visit to Osbourne Court- sheltered housing in Cockenzie for those of retirement age.

There, residents raised concerns including the rising cost of living, energy efficiency and keeping homes warm this winter. Additionally, residents spoke of communal life within sheltered housing, including sharing spaces and relationships with the community. 

Research gathered through theses consultations, which began in April, will be processed by the Housing Strategy Team and a draft of the Local Housing Strategy will be written. Following this, the draft will go out for public consultation, with opinions considered and necessary amendments made.

North Berwick Children and Young People Network

We met with members of the North Berwick Children and Young People Network to present the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment we have been working on alongside Children’s Services. This document identifies children with different vulnerabilities; amongst others: care-experienced children; young carers; and children with disabilities. The document outlines children’s current and future housing needs as well as their interrelated social care needs and will give recommendations on future actions and service improvements. The work was welcomed by the working group and they are looking forward to the final findings.

Visiting LAR’s Mid-Market Homes

Members of the Housing Strategy Team went along to a construction site visit, organised through the Scottish Housing Network. They, amongst others, were shown round a new development of Mid-Market Homes within North Queensferry, being provided by LAR- a Scottish Housing Trust.

Volunteer Centre East Lothian’s (VCEL) Poverty Conference

We attended VCEL’s Poverty Conference, to listen to presentations from professionals, questions answered by panels and to discuss the meaning of poverty and how the current cost of living crisis is, or could, impact communities in East Lothian.