Building High Quality Affordable Homes

Andrew Lycett, Chief Executive of RCT Homes (left) and Richard Daley Chief Executive of Bellerophon Projects (Right)

Andrew Lycett, Chief Executive of RCT Homes (left) and Richard Daley Chief Executive of Bellerophon Projects (Right)

Development Company, Bellerophon and Registered Social Landlords, RCT Homes – have held a ‘ground-breaking’ event marking the start of the construction of 152 new affordable homes on brownfield land in the Cardiff Bay Sports Village.

It is an important development, not least because of the new finance model developed and applied in Wales by Bellerphon and partners Porthcwlis (a subsidiary of RCT Homes). The new finance model is designed to lessen the requirement for public subsidy, hopefully allowing Wales to deliver much needed high quality affordable homes. The project has been backed by one of the UK’s biggest investment firms, M&G who have invested £19m in order to deliver over a hundred affordable and social rental accomodation.

We know that Cardiff is projected to be the fastest growing UK core city over the next 15 years. Whilst this is great news for Cardiff, it does mean that the city and wider region must provide sufficient affordable housing in well designed, connected and sustainable communities. To deliver our vision of being a liveable city, new homes in Cardiff must be surrounded by great public spaces, must be served by great public transport and not viewed as “new homes”, but one new community.

Stepping Up Toolkit Workshop

I have previously blogged about the Stepping Up Toolkit, designed with partners to support local people in Cardiff on how they can get more involved in providing services or running local community facilities.

The City of Cardiff Council has since been holding a series of introductory workshops across the city. To date, 5 five sessions have already been carried out (in Grangetown, Llanedeyrn, Splott, Rumney and Pentrebane) supporting nearly 100 community members interested in ‘Stepping Up’.

A Stepping Up Toolkit Workshop in action at the Powerhouse Community Centre, Llanederyn

A Stepping Up Toolkit Workshop in action at the Powerhouse Community Centre, Llanederyn

These workshops are being offered to explore the opportunities to achieve the council’s aspirations to work better with partners and local communities. As a Co-operative Council, we are genuinely committed to working in partnership and exploring alternative ways of working to provide high quality services for the citizens of Cardiff. This is even more important when public and third sector organisations are seeing continued reductions in their funding, similar to the challenges also faced by the Council.

The next event is scheduled for the 3rd February in Radyr Old Church Rooms. If you would like to get involved you can register your interest at www.surveys.cardiff.gov.uk/steppingup or by emailing steppingup@cardiff.gov.uk.

Artes Mundi Winner 2015

In this photo I’m with one of the co-presenters of the award ceremony, Director and Curator of Artes Mundi, Karen Mackinnon

In this photo I’m with one of the co-presenters of the award ceremony, Director and Curator of Artes Mundi, Karen Mackinnon

Last week I attended the Artes Mundi 6 Awards Ceremony held at the National Museum, in Cathays Park.

Founded in 2002 by Welsh artist William Wilkins, Artes Mundi has now established itself as one of the UK’s biggest and most exciting contemporary visual art awards and this year attracted even more entries and positive media coverage. Indeed this year’s event left ‘The Independent’ to question, ‘Why can’t the Turner Prize be more like this?’

Picked from a shortlist of 10 artists, this year’s prize winner was American artist, Theaster Gates. He was presented with the coveted award and £40,000 prize from Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones AM before going on to offer to share his prize money with his fellow competitors in his acceptance speech. Hearing how Theaster has used art to revitalise his community in Chicago, this act of generosity shouldn’t have come as a surprise!