Supporting young people into independent life

Bron Afon’s Own 2 Feet Living project was a winner at the Welsh Housing Awards – here I explain a bit more about our award-winning approach.

Own 2 feet living, Bron Afon 1

Ty Cyfle is an innovative housing development that supports young people into independence with eight starter homes for those aged 16 to 24.

The ground floor is a Community Connection Hub where training and employability programmes are delivered, whilst also offering access to digital equipment to support tenants and the wider community to become more digitally active.

The project won at the Welsh Housing Awards, in the category of Empowering and Involving Communities!

We were stunned and thrilled to win this award and as a result the provision has been showcased as a pioneering project that addresses some of the housing solutions for young people transitioning into independent living.

Ty Cyfle is ground breaking in that it is youth led, as a response to the needs of young people in Torfaen. Tenancies of young people were failing within the first year for many reasons.

Young people told us going straight into their own tenancies was proving to be too big a leap for many.

They were very clear, they needed more than just bricks and mortar, they wanted wrap around support, tailored to their needs.

They decided they wanted to develop a project that was a form of transitional housing, bridging the gap between 24 hour hostel support and fully independent living. It had to be sustainable and youth led.

The extensive refurbishment of a derelict building was completed, designed by young people for young people. They worked closely with our contractors as part of an employability programme, gaining qualifications and real hands on experience in the construction of the building.

They made decisions on layout, kitchens, bathrooms and furnishings. They worked to develop tenancy agreements and policies – it was a true co-operative effort!

They worked with us to develop a support programme designed to provide young people with the skills they need to live independently.

For example, how to pay their bills, manage their money, cook healthy meals on a budget and how to be a good neighbour.

Safer relationship and health and wellbeing programmes are an integral part of the project, all designed to build confidence and increase resilience.

Ty Cyfle has been in existence since November 2014 and can demonstrate its impact in changing people’s lives, developing new cultures within a housing organisation and meeting the need for affordable housing in Wales.

It continues to be run on co-operative principles by the Management Committee, consisting of Afon Youth and the young residents and is now fully embedded within the local community.

The experience of Ty Cyfle has taught us that if you trust young people they will find the solutions. No one is better placed than them to explain the impact of issues they are facing.

Bron Afon continues to listen, believe and invest in the future of young people with the exciting development of Own 2 Feet Living, Phase 2, to be completed in 2018.

 

This project, along with every shortlisted application in the Welsh Housing Awards, was published in CIH Cymru’s annual Good Practice Compendium, sponsored by Lovell.

The 2017 edition is a compilation of practice from across the breadth of the sector, divided into chapters that reflect areas of focus in housing right now.

You can download the Good Practice Compendium 2017 in English or Welsh on the CIH Cymru website.

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