Housing Associations – More Than Homes

Paula Kennedy writes that housing associations are woven into communities and a vital part of Wales’ economy.

In their Home manifesto, housing associations in Wales are calling on the next Welsh Government to invest in 20,000 new social homes over the next five years and an ambitious programme to make existing homes more energy efficient, to support the recovery of Wales post Covid. 

Our proposals, alongside long term investment from housing associations and Welsh Government will support 20,000 new jobs and 6,000 training opportunities across Wales, while providing a £6bn economic boost to communities up and down the country.

As Housing Minister, Julie James has said:

Ensuring everyone can have a good quality, affordable home is my number one priority as Wales’ Housing Minister

By the end of this current term of government, we will have invested more than £2 billion in housing across Wales – a clear indication of the importance we attached to delivering more good-quality homes, which are the bedrock of good communities and form the basis for individuals and families to flourish in all aspects of their lives.”

How housing associations can play a role

Housing Associations provide so much more than a house – they provide a home, help create communities people are proud to be part of, and importantly in the current climate, create local jobs and opportunities. 

Through our ambitious development programme, Melin hopes to meet local need and support Welsh Government targets.

Working with local businesses also creates job opportunities and we work with our contractors to create employment and placements for residents, working closely with our partners at Y-Prentis, a shared apprenticeship scheme operating across South East Wales. The team currently have 37 placements, with additional recruitment planned later this month. 

“We are calling for a five-year, £1.5bn investment programme from the next Welsh Government.”

Welsh housing associations spend 85p of every pound in Wales, and aim to increase that to 90p in every pound in the next assembly term. At Melin, our passion for Welsh based procurement means for every £1 spent, £1.98 was generated for the wider Welsh economy. 

Housing association don’t just build properties, they build communities. 

Through investment in housing, the housing sector aims to create 20,000 new jobs in Wales. We have dedicated teams to help residents into local employment and 80% of Melin’s work was awarded to Welsh businesses last year. 

As well as creating 20,000 new jobs, the social housing sector also aims to support 6,000 training opportunities across Wales.

Recent figures show that unemployment is at an all-time high in Wales, and poverty levels remain consistently high. Building more homes, which are affordable and energy efficient can go some way in addressing those pressing issues.

Melin has an apprenticeship programme committed to developing young people and currently have 13 apprentices and improver roles across the business. We want to continue providing these opportunities in order to give people safe, high quality placements with a company who cares.

We are developing a ‘grow your own’ culture, ensuring we provide opportunities for people to not only join the business but develop and progress. 

Investing in future generations is increasingly important, not just through good quality homes, local economy and climate commitments, but also in young people. Housing associations are well placed in the community to make a difference in young people’s lives too. 

Melin has a dedicated schools programme, which offers work experience placements for our local partnership schools, and last year we had eight pupils in various teams across the business, learning about the many different career options available in housing. 

We have developed a youth group called, Yep – Youth Empowerment Project, designed to inspire and give young people a chance to influence the work we do. Shaped by young people, for young people giving the group opportunities to look into innovative ways we can improve our service and ensure we listen and act on their views. We were the first Housing Association in Wales to sign the Children in Wales participation charter, with our partnership school Cwmbran High.

We recognize the importance of developing, encouraging and embracing the views, skills and abilities of young people. We want to create opportunities for as many young people as possible, which will enhance their skills and strengthen communities.

Our aim is to ensure that all young people can access social action opportunities, whatever their background, this underpins everything we do.

As a social housing sector, we are calling for a five-year, £1.5bn investment programme from the next Welsh Government, which will support 20,000 new job opportunities that are desperately needed in Wales.

Housing associations are serious about using their unique position to grow prosperous, healthy and connected places, and will work with Welsh Government to make sure local economies benefit from investment.

All articles published on the welsh agenda are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.



Paula Kennedy is Chief Executive of Melin Homes.

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