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Manager shares the inside scoop on running a retirement development

A woman from East Ayrshire has played a part in providing housing services to individuals in the local community for over a decade.

Karen Murray from Muirkirk completed a degree in Textiles, Fashion Design and Management from Heriot Watt University before changing career paths in 2009, when she joined Bield as a Housing Support Assistant.

The 41-year-old worked her way up the positions whilst completing an HNC in Social Science at Kilmarnock College to secure a role where making a difference to people’s lives was central.

In 2011 Karen secured the position of Deputy Manager at Glebe and Warrick Court in Cumnock and then moved onto the role of manager in 2017.

The local is now responsible for the running of the development which consists of 37 customers and managing a team of nine staff members.

Karen said: “Every day is different, my main duties include the maintenance, safety and security of the development, and ensuring high standards by liaising with contractors to report any repairs.

“It is also my responsibility to provide emergency response to customer calls and assist with advice on tenancy matters.

“You have to think on your feet in this role and react to matters as they arise, whether it be a customer emergency, dealing with property repairs, a referral to social work or reviewing menus and budgets with the cooks. There is always something new to learn.”

Since taking up the role, Karen has successfully completed an SVQ3 in Social Services and Healthcare and a Personal Development Award in Health and Social Care Supervision.

Glebe and Warrick Court is a welcoming and homely development, originally starting out as two separate buildings before joining together to make one well looked after and contemporary development.

Glebe and Warrick Court has two communal lounges and dining rooms, a large back garden and is in a good location for access to the local shops, GP surgery and bus station.

Meal service is included in the tenancy at Glebe Court and is optional at Warrick Court, with support available to customers who need it.

Karen added: “There is a sense of community and belonging at the development, we have a social club where in more normal times customers would meet every morning, which is optional to join.

“The social club organises entertainment at least once a month with singers and musicians, we also have bingo twice a week and the daily coffee morning.

“The housing team here are excellent and many have over 15 years of experience – keeping the standards high.

“We have been through a lot of changes and came out the other side a stronger team who provide great support for each other.”

Karen shared some of her stand out memories from her time working in the community adding: “I have great memories of the support from staff as well as customers for personal life milestones such as my baby shower, maternity leave and they even organised a bachelorette party when I was getting married.

“It really is a lovely place to be, with the sense of community which includes both staff and tenants.

“We are a development that offers safety and security whilst promoting living independently and can help give a new lease of life.”

Bield is a registered charity which grew from humble beginnings, starting out with one housing development in Bo’ness to become a major provider of housing and care services for around 20,000 older people across 23 local authority areas.

Bield’s new strategy for property development provides housing solutions – with greater choice and flexibility – to address the needs of the current generation of older people and the next.

To find out more about us and our developments, visit or follow on Facebook @bieldhousingandcare and Twitter @BieldScotland.

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