"Both award wins illustrate our commitment to 'More Than Housing', which underpins our vision to make a positive difference to lives and communities."
Grŵp Cynefin claimed first place at the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Wales Cymru awards held in Cardiff, in the young tenant of the year and the community action categories.
Keira George was recognised for her successful journey from being made homeless to being a key influence in the housing association’s Youth Shedz project and studying for a hairdressing qualification.
The 21-year-old lives in Grŵp Cynefin’s Yr Hafod development, a supported housing project for six young people aged 16 to 25 years old.
The project delivers support activities to the young people in their accommodation, on site and in the community.
The second successful category, which was the community action award, was awarded to Siop Griffiths, Penygroes. This project has seen a local community in Penygroes take an empty shop and turn it into a café, with a digital centre launching later in the year and tourist accommodation being introduced in early 2020. The accommodation will generate income to run the café and hire an employee.
Grŵp Cynefin supported the community group with grant applications and advise on developing the scheme into a self-sustainable business.
The awards, established more than 20 years ago, focus on the role tenants play in creating social housing communities.
Mair Edwards, community initiatives manager for Grŵp Cynefin, said: “Both award wins illustrate our commitment to ‘More Than Housing’, which underpins our vision to make a positive difference to lives and communities.
“Keira has proved that you can change course and direction if you’re not happy with your current situation. While Grŵp Cynefin provides the tools such as affordable homes and community projects including Youth Shedz, her attitude and positive outlook has been inspirational to make the most of the opportunities presented.
“The Siop Griffiths project is a fabulous story of not only breathing life into an empty shop but generating employment and digital support for the community. The group should be proud of their achievements and I hope it encourages others to seek support from us to help improve their communities.”
Youth Shedz was set up to support formerly homeless young people and is run by Grŵp Cynefin’s support service Gorwel.
Keira said: “To win is absolutely amazing and is the cherry on the top. This recognition shows it’s possible for people to improve their situation.
“For me personally, the biggest accomplishment is how far I’ve come and developed since moving into Yr Hafod. I was made homeless after living at home and after sofa-surfing for a few days, I moved into Yr Hafod in 2017.
“Grŵp Cynefin has provided me good opportunities to progress including the Youth Shedz project, and they have supported me with every decision I have made.
“I hope this award gives other young people the confidence to better themselves no matter their background.”
Shan Lloyd Williams, Grŵp Cynefin chief executive, said: “Our staff and tenants work tirelessly to make a positive difference in the community, and this award success is evidence of the amazing work they do.”