Archive | March 2012

The Green House Competition Winners are revealed

Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing Regeneration and Heritage has welcomed two families to their new eco-homes in Ebbw Vale.


The lucky families won the Green House competition run by United Welsh and its partners to live rent free for 12 months whilst taking part in an environmental monitoring project.

Larch and Lime House are situated on the site of the former Steelworks ‘The Works’, which is currently undergoing an extensive regeneration programme; including the building of a new school, leisure centre, hospital and the eco-homes.  Built as prototype social housing the eco-homes have been recognised for groundbreaking innovation winning multiple national sustainability awards.  United Welsh, and partners Blaenau Gwent Council, bere:architects and Pendragon Design and Build worked collaboratively as part of the National Eisteddfod festival celebrations 2010 to build a house to showcase the ‘Passivhaus’ concept, with the support of BRE and the Welsh Government. 

Nyree and Anthony Jones and their two daughters Shannon-Lee and Demi from Cwm were selected to live in Larch House, the UK’s first zero carbon passivhaus they said; “We are so excited to have won this competition and be given that chance to live in this eco-home.  We cannot wait to have a garden where the girls can safely ride their bikes and have the space to grow as a family. We will share all that we learn about energy awareness and eco-living.”

The couple moving in to The Lime House are Chloe Thomas and her partner of six years Stuart-Carl Barnes.  The young couple have been living with their parents until now saving for their own place.  The news came just at the right time for them as they are expecting their first child in May.


Housing, Regeneration and Heritage Minister Huw Lewis said: “Many Welsh households are feeling the pinch of the economic climate and some are facing real fuel poverty, so making ends meet is as important as ever. This is a fantastic opportunity for two lucky families to experience how living in a low carbon property, developed with Welsh Government support and built using local expertise and sustainable local products, helps protect the environment while cutting down on household fuel bills.

“I wish the residents the best of happiness in their new properties and I look forward to hearing about their experiences of living in two of the most environmentally friendly homes in the UK.”

March 2012

More information on Larch and Lime House


United Welsh at Tai 2012

I had the opportunity to contribute to a workshop on procurement at the TAI 2012 Housing Conference in Cardiff. The focus was on highlighting how to use procurement as a lever to deliver additional social , economic and environmental benefits in communities. We have done a lot using social clauses as part of our Targeted Recruitment and Training work. This was a chance to showcase where we have developed creative partnerships with social enterprises  – especially with Vision 21 at our Housing With Care Schemes  – giving students with learning disabilities important work opportunities  – and PS Services  who have just won our cleaning and caretaking contract for Cardiff  – this will unlock more  new work opportunities for people experiencing mental health issues.


As a direct result of us choosing to Vision 21 to provide our restaurant services to tenants at Plas Hyfrydd and Llys Nanty Mynydd we have directly created a whopping 12 salaried jobs: 2 volunteering roles: and 25 student work placements. And working with PS Services has created 3 work placements for our tenants  – 1 who has since secured  a paid contract with PS Services. As the Cardiff contract gears up more opportunities will be created.


These are great stories which highlight the potential of doing far more with good, ethical, honest and dependable social enterprise.

Steve Cranston Head of Community Investment United Welsh



United Welsh gets GOLD!

In Olympic year United Welsh has been awarded The Investors in People (IiP) GOLD award.

United Welsh considers its staff as its most important asset. This is clear through its investment in training, learning, development and creating a culture of bravery and creativity empowering staff to unlock their potential. 

The achievement of the Investors in People GOLD award reinforces this commitment to people, training, and development. United Welsh were required to undertake an  audit for the IiP Award which they have held for over 15 years; the recent audit showed that the organisation marked ‘beyond the standard’ which resulted in the recognition of the GOLD standard.

Members of United Welsh staff and board members were invited to meet with the auditor and speak openly and honestly about their role, future goals and ambitions and feelings towards the company.  The thorough process taking over two weeks led to the eventual recognition that the organisation was at the GOLD standard – a corporate objective for 2015!  Only organisations that achieve The Standard plus 126 additional evidence requirements or more will be recognised as Investors in People GOLD.

Donna Howells, Head of Human Resources at United Welsh said; “This is the ultimate accolade and we are thrilled that all members of the United Welsh team feel this way about our business.  We do not wish to rest on our laurels and intend to continuously improve and deliver this level of satisfaction amongst staff, customers and stakeholders. This accreditation is key to our business objectives and ethos, and we will work hard to maintain this high standard.”