Community Project Award winner
Sponsored by: The Open University in Wales
The Community Impact Initiative (the Cii), is a social enterprise working with people from a range of backgrounds to renovate empty properties, with the aim of improving the local area and developing key skills needed for work.
Behind the renovations are people who have overcome adversity, which can include homelessness and drug addiction, or those looking to build their confidence, develop skills, gain qualifications and meet new people.
Trystan Jones, Chief Executive, said:
The Cii currently employs two multi construction tutors who oversee the project and work with licenced plumbers and electricians to safely install water and electric into the properties. Once completed, the houses are put back onto the market and any profit received from the sale goes directly back into the purchase of the next house.
Trystan said: “Our team learn a host of skills, from plastering to tiling and everything in between. The project means different things to different people and we’ve had applications from learners aged 15 right up to 70 years old. We had one lady, who lost her husband and realised she didn’t have any basic DIY skills, so wanted to develop her skills and help the community at the same time. We’ve had a young man whose parents died at a young age, he felt isolated and often went days without seeing anyone and came to us looking to develop his communication skills and make friends.”
Jade Davies joined the programme in 2019, however, as a single mother of two young children, Jade had found it difficult to secure further learning opportunities or employment while balancing her homelife. She said: “The course definitely motivated me, and it gave me confidence interacting with new people from all different backgrounds. I was able to form friendships and expand my network, something I wouldn’t have been confident enough to do four months ago.” In July 2020, Jade was offered a full-time role as a Wellbeing Officer with the initiative.
The Cii currently operates across South Wales, having recently delivered contracts in Neath, Merthyr Tydfil and Pontypool with long-term growth aspirations to extend its geographical coverage across the UK.