Latest column in the North Wales Weekly News

Almost 4,000 homes in Conwy are managed by Cartrefi Conwy.

The independent not-for-profit Registered Social Landlord undertook this responsibility when the homes were transferred from Conwy County Borough Council in 2008.

What has been achieved by the housing association in just over a decade is remarkable.

For example, this year alone the amazing £1.4million transformation of Tre Cwm estate has been awarded a Keep Wales Tidy Green Flag Award; a subsidiary of the association has been named as the Growth Champion at the NatWest bank’s prestigious Social Business Awards; and significant investment is going into the revolutionary new modular house factory in Holyhead which produces low-energy homes with running costs of just £200 a year!

I know from experience that Cartrefi staff, such as Nerys Veldhuizen, go above and beyond to help ensure that tenants have a comfortable home and life.

It was my pleasure once again to participate in what I believe to be one the Association’s finest initiatives to help create and highlight that we have a community to be proud of.

This year’s Older People’s Day saw me join with hundreds of tenants for their rock themed celebration.

To the music of The Quaynotes and plenty of rock and roll, I was pleased to get into the spirit of the day by opening the event, dancing with residents, and presenting awards.

There were winners for each category, including Outstanding Volunteer, which I was pleased to see go to Tilly Goodwin from Llanrwst. 

As those who know her best told me: “Tilly helps the community and is a friend to everyone. She is Chair of the Altogether group, arranges the Macmillan sponsored walk and helps with the organising of the Macmillan coffee mornings. She lifts our spirits with her kind smile and I don’t know what our community would do without her”.

Such selflessness is what makes our communities a special place to be, and I am grateful to Cartrefi Conwy for providing a key opportunity to recognise the invaluable contribution made by its tenants.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that Cartrefi is working hard to create 250 new homes across the area, the association cannot accommodate everybody.

In fact, the waiting list for social housing in our County is eye wateringly high.

Clearly, it is important that everyone looking for housing does not forget to consider the private sector.  However, be assured that my Welsh Conservative colleagues and I have a plan to help with homelessness.

The recently launched strategy includes legislating to make housing a basic human right, immediately bringing 150 empty social housing properties back into use specifically for military veterans who are at risk of homelessness, and ensuring that voices of people who are homeless are heard at the highest levels by introducing a ‘Homelessness Tsar’.

Whilst celebrating the success of Cartrefi Conwy and its tenants is always a pleasure, I hope that you can see that I am fully aware of and working to help soothe the housing situation across Wales.