Green awards for Cartrefi Conwy

A housing association has won two major awards for championing a green revolution.

Cartrefi Conwy was honoured with a gold and a bronze at the prestigious Green Apple Awards held at the House of Lords.

The gold award was given for the use of  a ground-breaking type of eco-friendly insulation during the renovation of 50 bungalows in Elwy Drive and Victor Wilde Drive in Rhos on Sea.

The properties were constructed from a single skin of prefabricated concrete so cavity wall insulation was a non-starter because there’s no cavity.

The project involved a partnership which included contractors G Purchase, British Gas and building students from Llandrillo College.

The bronze was awarded for an innovative scheme called Participatory Budgeting.

Cartrefi Conwy, which took over Conwy County Borough Council’s 3,800 homes in 2008, invited their tenants to come up with ideas for environmental improvements in their communities.

Tenants were invited pitch their ideas during a special E-Factor event at the Interchange conference centre in Old Colwyn. More than 120 people attended the event and cast their votes.

In all, it was decided to support 21 community projects across the county with a total of £36,000 in funding.

The winning suggestion involved creating a sensory garden at a primary school, Ysgol Ffordd Dyffryn, in Llandudno.

They were given a £5,000 grant to create a garden of earthly delights, full of flowers and herbs and their fragrances and the tinkling and rustling of wind chimes and leaves in the playground of the school.

Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden is delighted with the successes at the Green Apple Awards.

Mr Bowden said: “The elderly tenants of the bungalows in Rhos on Sea can now remain in the area, benefiting from warm homes, reduced fuel bills and feel proud living in homes with significant
improved external appearance.

“The Community and enviroment benefit from the reduced carbon emissions, sound pollutions and the use of sutainable green products on project.

“Because it means reduced fuel bills, the local economy is also reaping the rewards through improved tenant disposable income.

Senior Tenant Engagement Officer Owen Veldhuizen was equally delighted by the success in the Green Apple Awards.”

He said: “The Participatory Budgeting Scheme is part of our on-going engagement with tenants.

“As part of the stock transfer process, we made a promise to tenants that we would allocate money to improve the physical environment of our communities.

“Part of the promise was that tenants would have an intrinsic role in deciding where that money should be spent to give the best results in their communities.

“Schemes like the sensory garden are adding to the sustainability of the community over and above the improvements were are making to fabric of the properties themselves.

“Participatory Budgeting has come to the attention of a lot of people as an innovative way of
involving tenants in making environmental improvements.

“There’s been a huge amount of interest in the scheme which has been cited as best practice in the
Welsh Housing Awards’ booklet, so it is something that could be rolled out in other places across Wales.”

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