Grŵp Cynefin’s first low carbon housing estate, a multimillion pound health and well-being project, its largest extra care scheme yet… and a return to its roots. As Grŵp Cynefin’s Chief Executive Officer celebrates three years at the helm, Shan Lloyd Williams is looking forward to a year of milestones.

“I want us to get back to our roots,” says Shan Lloyd Williams, Chief Executive of the north Wales housing association.

“Grŵp Cynefin, like many other housing associations, needs to provide safe and affordable homes of the highest quality. But we want to do more than that, we want to create communities that our tenants and customers are proud of.

“Grŵp Cynefin has a clear goal to build strong and sustainable communities, after all we, as staff, form part of those communities.”

Shan Lloyd Williams will this week, celebrate three years since starting her role as Chief Executive at Grŵp Cynefin. During those years she has seen exciting developments as well as unprecedented challenges. This past year has, no doubt, been one of the most challenging.

“Our staff have faced unprecedented demands on their working lives. And they have certainly risen to the challenge.

“They have gone above and beyond what is expected of them, changing roles, supporting each other and most of all, being there for our tenants. I pay tribute to them for their on-going efforts.

“As we look forward to the year ahead, we want to focus on our rural areas where, statistics show, second homes are a growing problem, pricing young local people and their families out of the market. COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem.

“Working with our partner-agencies, we want to contribute to finding solutions, of creating affordable homes where young people in rural areas can afford to continue to live, work and enjoy in their localities.

“Grŵp Cynefin has a role to play in safeguarding heritage, culture and traditions and promoting the Welsh language in our work and developments.”

One such development is a mixed development that includes houses and bungalows at Gwalchmai on Anglesey. Llain y Delyn is a 10 property development with a mix of affordable housing and social housing tenancies that will soon be available for local people.

Managing a total of 4,800 properties throughout north Wales and north Powys, Grŵp Cynefin is currently undertaking a major new health and well-being project at Penygroes, Gwynedd.

“Our vision is to create a modern, bespoke hub for the community to access health and dental services, pharmacy, preventative services, social services, accommodation for older people, offices, a crèche facility and an arts space, all on one site.”

“Situated in Dyffryn Nantlle, this will be a real boost to the community, one which brings together a number of partners, including Cyngor Gwynedd, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Cwmni Theatr Bara Caws. It is a blueprint project for the county, and we are proud to be driving the project forward.”

Across in Denbighshire, Awel y Dyffryn the extra care facility for older people is also moving apace.

The £12m project is taking shape and on track to open in September. The 66-apartment town centre scheme in Denbigh will offer tenancy to Denbighshire residents aged 60 and over, with 24 hour on-site support.

“We are proud of our partnership work with Denbighshire County Council and the Welsh Government at Awel y Dyffryn. Each resident will have their own self-contained apartment, but with the reassurance that support is available on site if needed.”

Grŵp Cynefin’s first low carbon housing estate, utilising modern methods of construction and off-site manufacture of the houses, is another ambitious project in the pipeline which will future proof homes through innovation and design. With support from the Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing fund and in collaboration with other housing associations in North Wales, Grŵp Cynefin has ambitions to build 24 properties on land near Maes Dulyn in Penygroes, Gwynedd.

“As we look forward to 2021, Grŵp Cynefin is ready for the challenges that lay ahead. As leaders in our field, making a positive difference to people’s lives and our communities in Wales, remains at the core of what we do,” Shan Lloyd Williams concluded.