At the awards ceremony in London, Melin Homes in Torfaen took the award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Housing in Wales’ for its Getting Connected project, which is run in partnership with Torfaen County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.
One part of the project provides residents with IT equipment and basic training to use the internet, e-mail and other packages. The second element is an IT training centre that will help to provide local people with basic skills as well as a technology academy which offers professional training in skills for the green and digital economies. The project is part funded through the Welsh Assembly Government’s Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Area Programme.
Cadwyn Housing Association in Cardiff was the other Welsh winner, this time in the Delivering Innovation and Efficiency category for their Calon Lettings Agency. Calon is an innovative and successful social lettings agency that manages private accommodation by using the values of the social sector and giving priority to homeless people and those in homeless hostels.
The agency manages over 200 properties and has homed over 230 people, 80% of whom were previously homeless. It is estimated that these ‘socially managed’ homes have provided the equivalent of £20m of social housing grant investment.
The Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Jocelyn Davies AM said:
“I congratulate both Melin Homes and Cadwyn Housing Association for their achievements at the UK Housing Awards. However the real achievement for both the projects lies in the number of people they have helped by finding them a home or improving their lives.
“Earlier this year I visited an elderly couple who had received a laptop as part of the Getting Connected scheme and who were learning to use it. They are now able to keep in touch with their family, who live some distance away, via e-mail which has reduced their phone bills, and do their grocery shopping online which is a big help as they are less mobile than they used to be and find shopping difficult.
“I am delighted that the Welsh Government has supported both of these projects. They are excellent examples of what can be achieved when we work together for people in Wales.”