The group chief executive of an Ayrshire housing association has stepped down after almost 35 years at the helm.

Cunninghame Housing Association announced the retirement of Frank Sweeney on Wednesday, May 15.

Mr Sweeney joined what was initially the Three Towns Housing Association as chief executive in 1990. At the time, they managed just 65 properties.

His leadership saw the organisation develop into the Cunninghame Housing Association, to the point where they now manage more than 3,500 properties throughout North Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, from Skelmorlie in the north to Gretna in the south.

Frank said today: "My journey with CHA is now ending and during the past 34 plus years, I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with committed voluntary boards of management members, the various board chairpersons and its sub-committees and staff.

"I wish the association every success in its future journey."

Janet Strang, chairperson of the CHA's board, said: "The association’s board of management, executive management team and staff would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Frank Sweeney on his remarkable career and wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement."

During his long tenure, the organisation developed into the Cunninghame Housing Association group of companies with the incorporation of additional charities and social enterprises.

That includes Citrus Energy in 2008 and Cunninghame Furniture Recycling Company in 2010 as well as the creation of Direct Works, a new direct labour organisation launched in 2019 and responsible for repairs and maintenance of the CHA estate.

A spokesperson for CHA added: "Throughout his tenure, Frank has been a visionary leader, and has guided the organisation to unprecedented heights and shaped it into a cornerstone of social and economic delivery within the communities in which it operates.

"He transformed the association into a front-footed leader in the social housing sector, embodying the ethos of the organisation's slogan 'Making Our Communities Better Places'.

"His unwavering commitment to this vision has had a profound and lasting impact on the lives of countless individuals and families.

"Frank’s innovative initiatives and strategic foresight have propelled Cunninghame Housing Association to new heights of success, establishing it as a model of excellence within the housing sector. His dedication to fostering social and economic benefits for our community has set a standard of leadership that will resonate for years to come.

“Frank Sweeney’s contributions to Cunninghame Housing Association and our community are immeasurable.

"His visionary leadership, unwavering dedication, and passion for making our communities better places have left an indelible mark on all of us.

"While we will miss his guidance and presence dearly, we are immensely grateful for his years of service and wish him a well-deserved retirement filled with joy and fulfilment."