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‘Excellence in Housing Innovation’ nomination for Merthyr Tydfil CBC at Welsh Housing Awards 2023

  • Categories : Press Release
  • 01 Nov 2023
Pen Y Dre / Compass

We’re delighted to announce that Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council has been shortlisted for the Welsh Housing Awards 2023 in ‘Excellence in Housing Innovation’ for our Pen Y Dre Apartments / Compass Community Hub scheme. The awards will take place at the Mercure Hotel in Cardiff on Thursday 30 November.

This award is aimed at projects which can clearly demonstrate how they have developed an innovative approach which has made a real difference to the lives of tenants and customers.

In 2020/21, we successfully obtained £1,129,174 of ICF (Integrated Care Fund) funding to address the accommodation needs of 16-24 year olds in Merthyr Tydfil. The funding was allocated to refurbish a council-owned building located in the Gurnos estate, creating five units of one and two-bedroom self-contained accommodation. These units are specifically designed to cater to young people transitioning from foster care or corporate parenting residential care accommodation, as well as those in this age group presenting as homeless.

The building plays a vital role in supporting unemployed young people and adults in accessing training programs aimed at enhancing their employability. It comprises of three buildings, offering a range of vocational training opportunities and experiential learning environments. The workshops include carpentry, plumbing, metal work and construction-style areas, a professional hair salon, and a ceramics workshop, among others.

The integration of housing support and vocational training provides a unique opportunity for young individuals to have direct access to modern, safe housing while simultaneously benefiting from onsite training. This integrated approach enhances their social integration, reduces the risk of isolation, and discourages engagement in anti-social behaviours. By combining accommodation and support with vocational training opportunities, we are not only providing a place to live but also equipping young people with the skills and education necessary to pursue higher education or employment, thereby increasing their chances of long-term success.

Our project places a large emphasis on prevention and early intervention for young people aged 16-24 who have been in the care system. By intervening at this critical stage, we are proactively addressing their needs and increasing their chances of successful independence. The project supports our young people in meeting their aspirations by providing them with a stable and supportive housing environment, empowering them to achieve their goals. It also improves transitions between children's services and adult services, ensuring a seamless and continuous support system. By furnishing the self-contained flats, we aim to provide our young people with the best possible start to their tenancies.

Councillor Michelle Symonds, Cabinet Member for Housing said;
“Our Pen Y Dre Apartments / Compass Community Hub scheme exemplifies our commitment to innovation and the well-being of our community. It's a testament to our dedication to providing housing solutions that not only meet the immediate needs of our youth but also empower them with vital skills and support for a brighter future.

“We're honoured to be shortlisted for the Welsh Housing Awards 2023, recognising our efforts in making a real difference in the lives of our tenants and customers.”

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