Young people create award winning housing scheme

A group of 16-24 year olds have come together to create a housing scheme that helps young people move from supported accommodation to independent living

See this page in: Cymraeg

Ty Cyfle consists of 8 starter homes for 16-24 year olds in Garndiffaeth, Torfaen, who aspire to be in employment, education, training or volunteering. The project was led and inititated by Bron Afon’s Youth Forum, who recognised the problems young people were facing when transitioning from 24 hour hostel support to independent living.

At the time, around 8 out of 10 young persons’ tenancies were failing, in part due to a lack in certain life skills and the sudden stop of all support when moving on from supportive hostel environments.  As a result a group of young people came together to find a solution and decided to create a housing scheme that included a community hub and wrap around support. They identified a derelict community centre building and led on the design of the refurbishment into 8 homes and a community hub.

Although they are not incorporated as a co-operative society, there is management comittee in place which operates on co-operative principles. The young tenants developed the tenancy agreement, policies, house rules and manage any low-level issues with support from Bron Afon, the Wales Co-operative Centre and the Confederation of Co-operative Housing.

The scheme is also supported by Bron Afon’s ‘Own 2 Feet Living’ service, which helps them with budgeting, cooking and other life skills. It was the young people that identified that they needed this wrap around support, and that having a home meant more to them than just bricks and mortar. In 2017 they won a Welsh Housing Award for Empowering and Involving Communities.

Key benefits include:

  • Low rent arrears and void turnaround
  • Low housing management support time
  • Helped to meet local housing need
  • Reutilised an empty building
  • Mutually supportive environment for young people
  • Employability programme available with contractors
  • Keeps young people rooted in their community
  • Helped cultural shift in RSL

Young people in control

The project was completely youth led, with young people responding to their own needs, as no one is better placed to find solutions. The majority of residents move on successfully to independent living after 2 year at Ty Cyfle.

As well as providing 8 new homes, the project has also brought a community hub to the area, which is used not only by residents of Ty Cyfle, but by the wider community as well. The hub provides training, employment support, digital equipment, health courses and any support needed by tenants or the wider community.

What’s next for Ty Cyfle?

The residents of Ty Cyfle and the Bron Afon Youth Forum have successfully bid to the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme. They have worked alongside Bron Afon to develop a further 3 blocks of homes using offsite manufacturing techniques. Ty Cyfle will be working closely with future residents to embed co-operative principles in the developments.