What Our Staff Say

HR Officer - Lesley Pert


Who am I?

My name is Lesley Pert, I am a Human Resource Officer with the Hillcrest Group of Companies. I began working with Gowrie Housing Association in 2000 and when Gowrie and Hillcrest merged together in 2004, Hillcrest became my employer.

What do I do?

I work within a team of 9 people and my role is to provide professional HR advice and guidance to everyone within the company on all matters relating to their employment.

The majority of my time is spent working with line managers and assisting them with day to day issues in the workplace. Some examples of this are recruiting new employees to the organisation, and meeting with people who are absent from work due to ill health, and helping to support them back to the workplace. I also provide coaching and mentoring on a regular basis to ensure best practice at all times. Sometimes I can find myself performing a balancing act to ensure both the company and the individual’s needs are successfully met.

As the company has grown, the job has changed substantially since I first began. Initially my role was predominantly office based, whereas now, the majority of my working day is spent outwith the office or away from my desk. Whilst based in Dundee, I cover a wide geographical area including Angus, Perthshire, Fife and Glasgow and can honestly say that no two days are ever the same.

Continuous Learning

The organisation places a big emphasis on Learning and Development and encourages employees to enhance their skills and improve their knowledge on an ongoing basis. Certainly from my own point of view, I am greatly appreciative of the assistance I was given to allow me to undertake a Professional Qualification in Human Resource Management, and the continuous learning I require to ensure my knowledge and skills are up to date with the ever changing world of employment law.

Rewarding aspects of the job?

It is rewarding when you see employees achieving their goals, successfully completing qualifications and gaining promotion within the organisation. A variety of situations can impact on an individual’s ability to do their job or come to their work and I gain a great deal of satisfaction when I know I have been able to help someone at such a time.

The Hillcrest Group

The Hillcrest Group offers excellent opportunities to everyone, and as an employer offer benefits such as competitive salary, final salary pension scheme, healthcare cash plan and childcare vouchers, which in the current economic climate, are most greatly welcomed.

As an Investor in People accredited organisation, the company tries to ensure it communicates well with all staff and involve them where appropriate, in decisions. There are several working groups to encourage staff involvement such as Healthy Working Lives, Staff Representative Group, and a Social Committee who do a great job in organising a wide variety of events.

All in all, I would say to any new or prospective employee that The Hillcrest Group is a fantastic company to work for. I really enjoy the job I do and I personally feel very fortunate to work with an organisation that values its employees and the contribution they make.

Business Development Manager - Emma Garry


Who are you?

I'm Emma Garry, Business Development Manager for Hillcrest. I am responsible for bringing development projects to programme agreement, tender approval and (internal) financing agreement. Together with this, I am also responsible for investigating and promoting new ways of Hillcrest undertaking development procurement and exploring innovative financing options.

My background is not specifically construction related, I started working with Hillcrest when I graduated from university having completed a degree in Politics and Economics.

How long have you worked for Hillcrest Housing Association?

I have worked for Hillcrest since September 2003. I started with Hillcrest in Dundee as Development Assistant and then became an Assistant Projects Officer. I then moved to the Edinburgh Office as a Development Manager, following this I undertook my current role as Business Development Manager.

What are the rewarding aspects of your job?

I find my role particularly rewarding when I am able to hand over new homes to my colleagues in the Housing Team. It's really exciting to think that all of the work my team has done for the year or 18 months before handover culminates into new homes for people who are in housing need.

Its great going back to a development in the few weeks after handover to see the new tenants settling into their new home.

Are you involved in any specific initiatives or groups?

There are many opportunities at Hillcrest to become involved in staff groups or initiatives. During my time with Hillcrest I have been involved in groups like website development, health and safety working group and I am currently sitting on the efficiency working group.

Housing Strategy and Performance Manager - Steve Kell


Who are you?

I'm Steve Kell, Housing Strategy & Performance Manager for Hillcrest. I have overall responsibility for the delivery of housing management services for all our properties in Dundee & Angus including the allocation and letting of properties, recovery of rent arrears, anti social behaviour investigations and neighbour disputes and the day to day responsive repairs service. I also have responsibility for building relations with external partners and work closely with the local authorities.

My background is predominantly housing related, having worked with Dundee City Council for seven years prior to joining Hillcrest.

How long have you worked for Hillcrest Housing Association?

I have worked for Hillcrest since May 1985 which means I have worked with the organisation more than half my life! I started with Hillcrest as a Housing Officer when we had just over 700 properties and have evolved into my current role following a succession of managerial posts covering all areas of our operation.

I became a Member of the Chartered Management Institute in 2006 and have seen many changes during my time with Hillcrest.

Throughout this period I have also witnessed the extensive organisational development and am very proud to be part of this progression.

What are the rewarding aspects of your job?

I find my role particularly rewarding in many ways, from the services we can now offer our tenants, helping staff to develop personally, being able to make a difference to peoples lives and encouraging community well-being, all this adds up to professional fulfilment.

Are you involved in any specific initiatives or groups?

This is something we are actively encouraged to do; there are many opportunities at Hillcrest to become involved in staff groups or initiatives. I am currently heavily involved in launching and delivering training for "The Hillcrest Commitment" which focuses on putting people at the heart of everything we do, we are always looking to continuously improve the way we deliver services and a well trained staff is essential to this succeeding. I am also at the forefront of our staff social committee which offers various events throughout the year for staff and their families.

Gowrie Care Project Manager - Ann Dickson

Who am I?

My name is Ann Dickson and I am a Unit Manager within Edinburgh. I manage two units: one in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, this is a short term project where tenants can stay for up to six months; the second is an accommodation unit for 10 adults and 5 older adults, these include permanent tenancies and five resettlement flats.

My job is to manage the unit and develop teams. This involves looking at what training is required to ensure a good quality service, together with taking responsibility for budgets and developing a project plan with tenants/service users.

Before starting as the assistant manager in Oxgangs in 2002, I had worked in a number of different areas of the homeless sector:

  • I worked as an advice worker with ECSH (Extra Care Sheltered Housing).
  • I have worked within the Cowgate Night Centre.
  • I was a Prisons housing officer; working in Her Majesties Prison Edinburgh, Cortonvale and Polmont.

How long have you been part of the Gowrie Care team?

I have worked for Gowrie Care since the merger with Old Town Housing Association in 2004.

What excites you about your job?

I love what I do, everyday is different; there are new challenges in every aspect of my job.  I get the opportunity to meet and work with so many different people from all walks of life.  I love being part of an organization that is so intent in providing a good quality service to all.

Together with this, I have two excellent teams, excellent peer support and good organisational support.

Rewarding aspects of working for Gowrie Care

There are a number of rewards for me:

  • Seeing a project flourish and staff develop
  • Knowing that through hard work and development the staff confidently offer the best service available
  • Seeing the look on a service user's face when they realise that you are willing to support them through some of the hardest times- watching service users achieve their goals. 

Specifically the Dryden Street project has been very rewarding.  There we have developed an environment that has truly benefited tenants: we now have a garden area; a vegetable patch; we offer both indoor and outdoor activities; and we also offer organised key work sessions.  Together with this, tenants take an active role in the development of the unit and the development of the staff team.

At Oxgangs, it is rewarding watching the staff confidently deliver the best possible service to individuals who often believe they have no where left to turn.  The staff put a tremendous amount of effort into ensuring that everyone who moves on from our services is given the best start possible.


Gowrie Care Assistant Manager - Mary Wilkie

Who are you?

My name is Mary Wilkie; I am the Assistant Unit Manager at Milnab Street in Crieff. My role is divided between my duties as a support work and some managerial responsibilities which involve assisting the Unit Manager with the day to day running of the unit. I draw up rotas, supervise staff, ensure staff are offered the necessary training, oversee the Cooksafe system and do the Legionelle testing and recording. Together with these responsibilities, I deputize in the Manager’s absence and have specific duties involving service users- such as, the overseeing of files.

We support 11 service users with a Learning Disability/Autism: four people in a shared supported living situation; three individuals in a small group home; and four gentlemen on an outreach basis. We have a permanent staff team of 18.

How long have you been part of the Gowrie Care team?

I started to work with Gowrie Care in June 1992 as a relief Support Worker whilst I was at College. I applied and was successful at gaining a permanent post in September 1993; I then increased my hours to full time in 2000. In December 2006 I was appointed Acting Assistant Manager and this was made permanent in 2007.

What excites you about your job?

Every shift is different at Milnab Street. The service users within the three services have varying needs and we have to adapt our approach accordingly. However ultimately we are working towards the same goal- for individuals to be as independent as they possibly can be.

Rewarding aspects of working for Gowrie Care

The most rewarding aspect of my role is that you are fortunate to be closely involved in an individual’s life and can proactive in a person developing their autonomy and encouraging them to build on experiences so that the individual can make informed choices in their life.

Are you involved in any specific initiatives or groups?

I support service users to attend National Involvement Network (NIN) meetings which are held every two months in various locations. The NIN is supported by the Association for Real Change. The NIN group published a Charter for Involvement in April 2009 and Gowrie Care signed up to the charter at its launch. The NIN group worked for two years developing the charter; which addresses the issues surrounding the services that individuals receive and the organisations that provide the service. The aim of the charter is to set out how people want to be involved in all aspects of their lives- the wider community, the running of their own service and having their views heard by the Scottish Parliament. The group has the backing of Jackie Baillie MSP, and are now looking at service users providing training to organisations in order to develop and implement the use of the charter within the organisations that have signed up to it.