AN Inverclyde housing provider has brought two Greenock companies on board to carry out repairs for its tenants and sealed an apprenticeships boost.

Cloch Housing Association says it has appointed George Cooke Plumbing Services and Whyte & Christie Joinery Services as contractors. 

The companies have been taken on alongside another four firms across the west of Scotland region, with a group of six apprentices starting in roles too. 

Cloch bosses say they've already seen a 'dramatic decrease' in customer complaints since the companies took over. 

Paul McColgan, head of property services at the association, said the Inverclyde workers had also made a big impact on tenants.

He said: "These local tradesmen really care about doing a good job for our tenants because they are from this area.

"They care about our community and they go the extra mile. 

"Most importantly, they fix issues quickly, first time and with very few tenant complaints."

George Cooke, who runs George Cooke Plumbing Services, said: "I'm from the local area and I've worked here for decades as a plumber. 

"When you're local you have that professional pride, and you understand the local community. 

"The tenants know you, you go in and you get on well with them."

Cloch, which looks after 1,400 homes across Greenock, Port Glasgow and Inverkip, had been using multi-trade national companies for the last nine years.

Bosses said that the pandemic and 'persistent inflation' reduced the number of larger contractors on the market. 

The housing association joined forces with Procurement for Housing (PfH) Scotland and seven other local housing associations to create a consortium and streamline the tender process.

The purchasing system which has been created is now making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to bid for contracts in the local area. 

Mr McColgan said big companies weren't always reliable and sometimes didn't have capacity. 

He added: "We want to give our tenants the very best customer service and if something in their home has broken or isn't working properly, we want to fix it first time and as quickly as possible. 

"To do that, you need flexible, dependable contractors who can deal with the repair quickly and to a good standard, every time."