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Bonymaen, Swansea

The Lottery-funded Community Legacy Project supports people from a wide range of backgrounds to improve their health and wellbeing, build confidence, learn new skills, achieve qualifications, and make positive life improvements through the renovation of empty properties in our local communities.

Property

During early 2021, the Cii purchased a 3-bed semi-detached property in the Bonymaen region of Swansea at a Paul Fosh property auction. The property had been empty for a number of years, had been partly renovated, then left, and had therefore fallen into a state of disrepair. The property was completely unhabitable and was unfortunately causing anti-social issues on the street.

Prior to works commencing, the Cii accessed Lottery Climate Action Boost funding as a top-up fund to make the property more efficient. The purpose of the fund was to trial innovative methods to support the energy efficiency of the property, whilst taking this learning forward into future property regenerations. Following funding approval, we engaged with Renew Wales and Rounded Developments Enterprises, who worked with us to evaluate the property, its current energy efficiency rating, and to recommend future energy efficiency improvements. This resulted in the compilation of a detailed report that considered all elements of energy efficiency whilst incorporating the sustainable development principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

Participants

From March to August 2021, we supported 20 people local to the area, to build their confidence and self-esteem and learn new skills through the property regeneration activities. The participants ranged in age from 16 to 65 and had varying backgrounds and challenging life circumstances. Some were homeless, had drug dependency issues, were illiterate, and came from jobless households – however, they all had similar reasons for joining the project, to build their confidence, meet new people, establish work routines and access support aligned to their learning needs.

Project partners

We were supported by a wide range of local, regional and national partners and organisations during the lifecycle of the project. Project referrals were received from organisations such JCP Swansea, Swansea Youth Justice Service, The Wallich, Communitie4Work, Gowerton School and Inspire Training.

We also received project support from the National Lottery who allocated Climate Action Boost funding; Renew Wales and Rounded Developments Enterprises who provided specialist energy efficiency advice; the Welsh Government who provided support through their NEST Scheme; Acorn Recruitment who supported the employment journey of our participants; and TSW Training who supported our participants to achieve accredited qualifications.

We also engaged with organisations such as the Carers Trust, JCP and CAB to provide ongoing wellbeing support.

Project activities

During the 6-month project timescale, project participants were supported to learn a wide range of soft skills, as well as practical trade and employment skills.

Soft skill development aligned to the project activities included communication skills, confidence, problem solving, timekeeping and personal presentation. Whilst a wide range of construction skills were taught, including plastering, tiling, carpentry, painting & decorating, kitchen/bathroom fitting and everything else associated with a renovation.

They were also able to achieve the CITB Health & Safety Awareness training and were supported to pass the CSCS test.

In completing the project we implemented a wide range of measures in partnership with Renew Wales and Rounded Development Enterprises that ensured the dwelling was appropriate for modern living; to connect owners with the outside space; was energy efficient; minimised carbon emissions; avoided unintended consequences of retrofit; facilitated family living, a green lifestyle and a healthy internal environment; and embraced the property identity. In delivering upon these ambitions, we implemented a wide range of practical measures that included; the creation of a kitchen/diner; services to facilitate home working; insulated floors and walls; maximised light by installing ‘french doors’ to the garden; high performance windows and doors; LED lightning throughout and many other features and systems.

Project completion

The project was completed within 6 months and the property was sold and returned to the housing market. The before and after comparisons were stark and greatly improved the ‘feel’ of the street.

Further information

If you would like further information in relation to our community work, please get in touch through our Contact Page or email us at: info@the-cii.org.

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