Welsh Tenants Community Participation Awards 2015
The Welsh Tenants are pleased to recognise the tremendous work undertaken by both landlords and their tenants across Wales. We are grateful that our awards are sponsored by Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru. Many of the applications we sift go on to be submitted for other prestigious awards in housing, so we are doubly pleased to see the recognition by the Welsh Tenants are mirrored elsewhere among the housing and support community.
There are six categories of award including good practice in :
- Women leading in Housing
- Tenant engagement
- Outstanding individual
- Student award
Applicants are measured by a panel of Welsh Tenants volunteers against criteria that includes assessing their; Impact; Difficulty; Appeal; Longevity and Inclusivity. We received 29 applications this year of which 17 were shortlisted under the minimum 15 point benchmark.
Women leading in Housing
This year, in lieu of our commitment to profile women in housing and in recognition of the role women have played in the development of tenant involvement, we introduced a ‘Woman Leading in housing’ award with the award presented to Jocelyn Davies AM
Since the formation of the Welsh Assembly Jocelyn has been a staunch supporter of the development of good housing law, policy and practice, helping to shape issues such as empty homes, park homes, regulation of housing associations, tenant empowerment, supply and more recently tenancy agreements and tenancy support.
Jocelyn was Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration in the Labour/Plaid coalition government from 2007 – 2011 but sadly she is due to step down as an Assembly Member in 2016. Members of the panel could not let her go without acknowledging the support received from her and the tremendous work she has undertaken both professionally and personally to advance good housing in Wales.
Good Practice in Engagement
The second award was for Good Practice in Engagement with shortlisted nominations from Newydds Involvement feshvais, Pembrokeshire HA Tenants Panel, Anglesey County Council, Amlwch Community Clean up, Pembrokeshire QAA group, Isle of Anglesey local TPSF and Isle of Anglesey Aberferaw Gardening day.
The good practice in engagement was awarded to Anglesey County Council, Amlwch Community Clean up. This project (captured on video) took an incredible amount of organisation with over 23 skips and hundreds of hours of volunteering. The project brought together a number of organisations public, private and voluntary together whilst attracting external sponsors.
The project demonstrated foresight, vision and understanding of how low level hording can potentially hold up WHQS work, so the project is a win all round, improving efficiency while providing an invaluable service to residents to clean up gardens and homes whilst engendering great mutual support, neighbourliness and involvement all round.
Good Practice in Communication
The third award was for Good Practice in Communication tools with nominations for the following: Newydd ASB Sub group, Isle of Anglesey / Amlwch Community Clean up, Cynon Taf AR video & Business plan and Newydd redevelopment of website
The award was presented to Cynon Taf Housing Group for Good Practice in Communication for their Annual report & Video. We all like to see complex issues explained more easily – in plain simple terms. Cynon Taf’s annual report and corporate plan both recognised their primary public audience were its customers and directed their communications accordingly. Above all, tenants need to understand how the group were performing against benchmarks and to understand what they had planned for the future. They achieved this through a simple but informative video and an easy to read annual report and corporate plan. They both complemented each other providing clear and concise graphics that simply explained the priorities of the business plan, the progress the group had made and future expectations. Very good communication done plainly and without fuss in clear and concise language cost effectively.
Outstanding Individual Contribution
The award for Outstanding individual Contribution is for the tenant who made a significant difference. Nominations were received for, Emma Newbury of Newydd HA, Mike Wiseman, Tenants Advisory Panel & Family HA, Steve Thrupp, Tenants Advisory panel & RCT Homes and Marian Price of Hafod HA.
The outstanding individual award was presented to Hafod Housing Association, Marian Price.
Sometimes when you have a vision, it takes, courage, tenacity and perseverance to get things done. Giving up is simply not an option. Marian Price has this in buckets. With over 25 years of tenant involvement behind her, in 2008 she set up Fir tree Community Association (previously TRA) with the aim of developing a new purpose built centre to replace dilapidated porta-cabins based in Treharris. The project however had several setbacks with planning restrictions, however Marian kept on plugging away helping to secure funding and influence with the support of Hafod community investment team.
Marian had a vision to build a café and centre and finally despite all the setbacks finally the Fir Tree Centre opened in Nov 2014 after 8 years of campaigning and lobbying and filling out grant applications. Over the decades Marian has supported and championed countless of community trips with young people, supporting the local jazz band, outings and youth and fundraising events which has made her a much loved and respected figure in the community. Congratulations to Marian Price.
Our next category was for ‘Innovative Projects’. With nominations from Newydds HA Community Leaders project, Pembrokeshire QAA group, Isle of Anglesey / Lon Deg Secret Garden, Isle of Anglesey / Seiriol Community Hub and Hafods garden smart tool hire scheme.
The Innovate project award went to Hafod Housing Association, garden smart tool hire scheme. The garden forms part of the rental agreement, however maintaining it can often be problematic if your budget won’t extend to it. Maintaining it to high standards you need the necessary tools and equipment to do so. When you are suffering the impacts of the bedroom tax or just had your working hours reduced this can be difficult and near impossible for many.
The unique position of landlord does mean that together with their tenants they can often be best placed to provide practical solutions and support to the problems presented. The judges admired this project because of its practicality. But also, because sometimes the simple ideas are often the most difficult to put in place and requires expert advice to get them off the ground. Health and safety, liability, education, training. These are often excuses for not doing something. Here we have a simple idea – that required working through potential problems and solving them, one by one, to deliver something that mattered to tenants, something they would value and support.
Welsh Tenants started the student papers award several years ago to encourage young people, particularly students to write papers about matters of housing and tenant involvement.
Over the years we have received papers on the comparisons of social housing in USA and UK, an excellent paper on mental health, securing housing and older peoples housing, and more recently the impact of supply on allocations. We have had the pleasure of reading them and discussing them with their writers, while using some of the arguments presented to further stimulate discussion among our partners and members. The judges liked this paper because of its timeliness, giving an overview of where we are in housing and what we needed to do to respond to the changing practice of housing professional. The award was presented to Cerrys Burnell.
Thank you to you all. Look forward to receiving your nomination next year.