#rural17: Spotlight on Rural Housing Monday 23 January 2017
Community Housing Cymru’s Rural Housing Conference on 26 January is our opportunity to demonstrate what we are doing as housing providers in Wales.
Grŵp Cynefin manages over 4,500 homes across North Wales, many of which are in rural areas. Our plans include showcasing some of our recently completed developments in rural communities, as well as sharing examples of the type of work we do to support those communities.
We work in partnership with the Welsh Government, local authorities, Snowdonia National Park authority and other housing associations to support Rural Housing Enablers in North West Wales. Enablers work with communities to identify the need for housing, and work to ensure those needs are met. Some of the projects that we’ll be highlighting during the week have been developed as a result of the Rural Housing Enablers’ work, including 12 new homes at Tŷ Croes, a rural community on Anglesey. Once the need for new homes was identified in the area, we then worked with Anglesey County Council to identify suitable land, which was gifted by the authority. Working in innovative ways and identifying alternative funding models is essential if we are to ensure people are able to stay in the rural communities in which they were raised, and ensure those areas remain vibrant communities.
Our aim is to provide high quality homes, excellent services and develop sustainable communities where people wish to live. Sustaining rural communities can often mean getting involved in projects beyond the provision of affordable housing. For example, we’ve recently provided support to a community group in Cynwyd, near Corwen who are launching a bid to buy their village shop. Local residents there say they would have to travel far to be able to access basic financial services, while a lack of public transport means the village is isolated. In such cases we look to work with the community to ensure the future viability of their area is protected.
In Botwnnog, a rural village on the Llŷn Peninsula, we developed 12 homes, and an adjoining enterprise centre, Canolfan Fenter Congl Meinciau. The centre provides employment opportunities for the people living in the rural community, whilst providing local businesses with modern, state of the art facilities, so that they can run their businesses from their local community, without having to move their base, and jobs, out of the area. The centre is thriving, with 12 companies currently based there.
We’re acutely aware of the obstacles facing support providers, given the funding cuts and increased cost of reaching out to isolated communities. Gorwel, Grŵp Cynefin’s support provider, has been working in partnership with South Gwynedd Domestic Abuse Service for the past two years to ensure provision of support for victims of domestic abuse in rural areas. We’re now in the process of bringing South Gwynedd Domestic Abuse Services into Grŵp Cynefin, in a move that will cut administrative costs and protect frontline services.
All of this work fits with our strapline of ‘more than housing’, recognising that creating sustainable rural communities means providing more than bricks and mortar.
Remember to follow the hashtag #rural17 for more news on the achievements and challenges here in Wales and across the rest of Europe.
- Case Study: Pant yr Eithin, Harlech: Family homes and innovative supported housing
- Case Study: Tai Pendre, Tywyn: 17 homes to meet local needs
- Case Study: Isfryn, Penrhyndeudraeth: 8 family homes built to ‘Passivhaus’ standard
- Case Study: Cwrt y Glowyr, Penyffordd: 9 energy efficient family homes
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