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15 June 2020

Mixing employment support with tenant wellbeing

Mixing employment support with tenant wellbeing
Sioned Williams is Senior Employment Academy Partner for Creating Enterprise, which is part of Cartrefi Conwy housing association. Here she talks about the work they are doing to support tenants with their employability and skills, and how the team are supporting other areas of the organization at this time.

“In our day-to-day work, we support local people to look for work, gain confidence and new skills, complete training and gain qualifications, and offer volunteering opportunities across Cartrefi Conwy Group (Cartrefi Conwy and Creating Enterprise). We also have a project that supports working families, by bringing them together and organising events for them as needed. We have a purpose built building, our Employment Academy in Mochdre where we often hold events, and it is open to anyone as a daily drop-in.

Due to Covid-19, a number of the team are currently supporting the Cartrefi Conwy Wellbeing project with the all-important telephone calls to the tenant, and passing on queries to other members of our team who go out shopping and pick up prescriptions and other items from pharmacies and hospitals.

We have also been running free, informal training sessions online to help tenants become more independent, for example how to shop safely online, how to engage with family and friends using Facebook Messenger or Zoom, as well as work preparation sessions for when things start returning to normal. We have been helping with CVs, building confidence, and completing application forms.

We have also received a WCVA grant to enable us to expand on this work, so we have a coordinator working closely to recruit and prepare volunteers who have come forward in the last two weeks, who are keen to support the work and support the most vulnerable and isolated tenants in our communities. This means that when our team goes back to its day-to-day work, the service will be fully ready to continue for those who need it.

One of my colleagues, Jasmine Rigby, said:

‘Since the pandemic, my role has fluctuated to thinking more creatively to keep activities going for the working families project, in line with the government guidelines. An example of this is creating video tutorials and delivering art and craft packs rather than face to face activities. I have also become a responder delivering tenants prescriptions and food shopping which isn’t something that I usually do in my day to day role, however this has been very rewarding knowing I am helping our community.’

Karen Williams also said:

‘Being part of the wellbeing team, and calling tenants each week has been so rewarding during these testing times. So many have said how speaking to another person has made a huge difference to them. For some, I am the only person they speak to each week. They have said it’s nice to know someone is there for them and that we care. Hearing those comments had a huge impact on me. Suddenly a new way of life was easier to handle knowing I was making a difference to people.’”

Housing associations in Wales have made a number of commitments to support tenants through the Covid-19 pandemic. To showcase this work, and raise awareness of the support available to tenants, we have developed a campaign called ‘With You'. Follow this campaign through CHC’s Twitter page @CHCymru and searching for the hashtag #withyou.