A scheme set up to support formerly homeless young people in north Wales has scooped a prestigious UK housing industry award.
The Youth Shedz project, developed by 16 to 25-year-olds working with Denbigh-based Grŵp Cynefin’s support service Gorwel, has been named homelessness project of the year (for less than 4,000 homes) at the UK Housing Awards last week.
The annual awards, held at London’s Grosvenor Hotel, bring together more than 1,300 leading housing association professionals to celebrate achievements in the industry.
And Youth Shedz was the only North Wales-based winner on the night after impressing the judging panel, which includes members of the Chartered Institute of Housing and the House of Lords, with its youth-led culture and success.
The project started in September 2017, helping vulnerable young people build their confidence and gain employability skills by transforming a former garage in Denbigh into a Youth Shedz hub.
Its members, known as ‘Shedderz’, lead on all decisions relating to the scheme’s development, and engage in activities including woodwork and bike repairs.
Now, more Youth Shedz have been established in Abergele, Colwyn Bay, and Kinmel Bay, with its growth a measure of its success, says Youth Shedz mentor Scott Jenkinson.
“Winning a UK Housing Award is an incredible achievement, and one that is down to the hard work of each of our Shedderz, who have always been the driving force behind this project.
“It all started when I asked them to research anti-social behaviour, with them coming up with the idea to provide a safe space for young people to be productive in.
“Today Youth Shedz is a fully-fledged non-profit organisation, and thanks to Grŵp Cynefin, it can continue to help the younger generation stay out of trouble and off the streets.”
Mair Edwards, community initiatives manager at Grŵp Cynefin, added:
“Youth Shedz has made a real difference to young people’s lives, and we’re proud to see it deservedly win this UKHA award.
“Our ethos of ‘more than housing’ sets us apart, and through projects like these, which empower participants to build their confidence and enhance their employability, we achieve just that.”
Shan Lloyd Williams, chief executive at Grŵp Cynefin, added: “We’re thrilled to see this powerful project be named the best in the UK.
“As a leading housing association, we’re honoured to be able to offer more than housing to our communities across North and Mid Wales through schemes like Youth Shedz, which help tenants live happy and fulfilled lives.”
Gorwel, which is a business unit within North Wales-based housing association Grŵp Cynefin, provides support to the homeless, victims of domestic abuse, and people over 55 who need help to continue living independently, across Gwynedd, Anglesey and Denbighshire.
Around 90 per cent of its funding comes from the Welsh Government’s Supporting People programme, which gives housing-related support to help vulnerable people live as independently as possible.
Visit www.grwpcynefin.org and click on ‘Your Community’ to read more about Gorwel or call 0300 111 2122.