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19 March 2015

Minister approves funding for rural housing champions

Minister with responsibility for housing, Lesley Griffiths, has approved funding to continue the good work of rural housing champions in communities across Wales.

Rural Housing Enablers (RHEs) work closely with communities to develop affordable housing projects - providing homes for local people and sustaining rural communities.

The lack of affordable housing is one of the most serious issues facing communities in the countryside. The Welsh Government recognises good quality, affordable housing is fundamental in tackling poverty and helping these areas to thrive.

Rural Housing Enabler projects have been responsible for 200 new affordable homes, with approximately 200 more in the pipeline. Today’s announcement of £200,000 over the next two years will ensure this innovative work continues.

Lesley Griffiths made the announcement at the Rural Regeneration Conference in Newtown, Powys organised by Crew Regeneration Wales and Community Housing Cymru (CHC). The Minister said:

“The lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest problems for people living in rural Wales. Good quality, affordable housing is fundamental to ensure people are able to stay in these areas, sustaining the communities for generations to come.

“The work of RHEs in Wales is vital. They are strong champions for rural communities, producing evidence of the need for affordable homes in specific areas, identifying suitable housing sites, engaging with the community and assisting with local planning and housing policy. Ultimately, through working closely with partners and the community, they provide much-needed homes for local people.

“It is for this reason I am pleased to be able to announce the continued funding support from the Welsh Government for the RHEs’ important work across Wales.”

Group Chief Executive of CHC, Stuart Ropke said:

“Housing is the lifeblood of any sustainable rural community. A lack of affordable housing means a lack of people, which means a decreasing need for rural services and local amenities. We welcome this funding and will continue to support RHEs to provide much needed homes and in doing so, tackle issues such as rural poverty and rural fuel poverty.”

At the conference, the Minister set out the action taking place across the Welsh Government to ensure rural Wales is vibrant and prosperous, and updated delegates on the progress made on providing affordable homes across Wales.

The Minister added:

“This Government set an ambitious target of 10,000 affordable homes during this Assembly term. We are making excellent progress on this target, with almost 6,900 additional affordable homes delivered so far. This is incredibly encouraging.

“Housing associations and other key partners have made a very significant contribution to this achievement and I would like to thank them for their continuing work to provide safe and secure homes for people across Wales.”