United Welsh - A Big Issue Cymru Big List Subscriber
United Welsh is a not-for-profit organisation providing housing and related services to people in South East Wales, and currently manage over 4,600 homes. Chief Executive Tony Whittaker discusses the ‘whole community’ approach to their work.
Q. Can you explain more about what United Welsh does? United Welsh is a not-for-profit organisation with offices in Caerphilly and Cardiff. We provide affordable housing solutions for people across 11 local authorities in South Wales. These solutions include affordable housing, equity share homes for first time buyers, accommodation and related services for the over 55’s called Living+, and specialist supported housing. Supported housing at United Welsh covers housing projects which are managed for the benefit of people who need additional support including; women fleeing domestic abuse, people with learning difficulties or those recovering from substance misuse issues. The Support Services team manage some projects directly and others in partnership with support providers. There are over 100 such projects working with 30 organisations that provide the housing and support to over 800 clients. We take a ‘whole community’ approach investing in our communities in order to make each house a home.
Q. What are United Welsh’s goals? We ultimately want to be the best for our people and our communities; we will achieve this through seizing opportunities, unlocking potential and changing lives. We will be investing in new and existing homes and communities, striving to provide excellent services to all of our customers whilst at the same time providing our tenants with life-changing opportunities
Q. Why is United Welsh a part of The Big Issue Cymru’s Big List? The Big List gives us the ideal outlet to support the Big Issue Cymru and all that it stands for. As community focussed organisation the weekly magazine gives us insight into current key regional and national issues affecting our communities.
Q. How does the ethos of United Welsh fit in with that of The Big Issue Cymru? We strive to improve the lives of those living in our communities. The Support Services team help homeless and vulnerable people find safe and secure homes. Like the ethos of the Big Issue Cymru ‘A hand up not a hand out’ the team offer opportunities such as life skills, volunteering, time banking and help finding employment; supporting those that need it to support themselves. Both our organisations recognise the importance of social inclusion and community investment being at the core of our actions.
Q. What are United Welsh’s plans for the future? United Welsh will continue to deliver more affordable homes for people to rent or buy We plan to provide around 800 new homes in the next 5 years . Over the past 4 years we have invested £18.2 million to bring our homes up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) and this investment will continue to grow. Our commitment to sustainability and utilising innovative technologies to both lower the energy use and consumption of our homes and tackle the issue of rising fuel bills for our tenants is a key element of future plans. It is important to continue to build homes that incorporate sustainable features both in the finished product and in the building process We are striving to deliver new developments offering more people the chance to live in the way to suit their needs. During 2012 we will commence major regeneration projects in a number of our communities. There will also be the delivery of exciting new developments such as the Northlands development – homeless hostel accommodation in Cardiff with the Salvation Army.
Q. Why is United Welsh a success? Everyone at United Welsh is focussed on delivering the best for every customer every time and to that end the organisation has been awarded with the mark of Customer Service Excellence (CSE) the Government Standard. Through effective partnership working, supporting people, partners and communities to release their full potential to achieve their goals, and delivering results United Welsh, its people and communities reinforces itself as a successful energetic and forward thinking housing association. Recognition of the link between a good home and health, education and happiness is essential. We recognise that as a provider of homes we must also invest in communities and work with partners to deliver sustainable communities for now and the future.
For more information about United Welsh visit www.uwha.co.uk or call 0800 294 0195
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