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Here’s to the next 25 years

Judy Wayne reports on the celebratory event in Cardiff marking WHQ’s quarter century. Wednesday 11th November saw more than 50 people gather to celebrate the 100th edition of Welsh Housing Quarterly.

It doesn’t seem that long since there was a party for the 50th edition. If I remember correctly, that one was held at Techniquest, the hands-on science museum in Cardiff Bay. The 100th birthday party was also held in Cardiff Bay, this time at Craft in the Bay. It seemed fitting to celebrate our own, made in Wales magazine, at a venue where the best of Welsh crafts is promoted.

We were delighted that Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Communities and Poverty, was able to come along and launch the new WHQ website. It will enable readers to write blogs, debate policy and share good practice between and alongside the regular quarterly editions.

The Minister noted 25 years as a significant milestone. During its lifetime, WHQ has seen how Wales has changed, through devolution to primary law-making with Wales’ first major Housing Act and the Mobile Homes Act on the statute book and the current Renting Homes Bill at stage four.

Looking back over 25 years, the 100th edition showed the extent of this change, and how working in partnership makes a difference to people’s lives and achieves inroads into poverty.

The Minister praised the invaluable work of social landlords and gave figures for achievements in the sector – all success stories:

  • 7,500 empty homes brought back into use
  • 91% delivery of the 10,000 new homes target
  • Local authorities building again
  • A 4% increase in Welsh Housing Quality Standard achievement with 10,000 more households in decent homes; together with in-work employment and training from these programmes
  • Help to Buy Wales to be extended

Everyone shared her view that WHQ remains essential reading and echoed her words ‘here’s to the next hundred’.

Antonia Forte, chair of the WHQ Advisory Board, said that WHQ was the platform for housing and regeneration discussion and debate. Over the years WHQ has reinforced understanding of the links between good housing, health, well-being, education, transport etc.

Antonia thanked the many people who have made WHQ happen. Special thanks went to Welsh Government for its support for WHQ from the start, and especially for the extra funding for the new website; to the three editors (Angela Evans, Tamsin Stirling and now Jules Birch, our first professional journalist); to the Advisory Board, Cardiff University, CIH, CHC, WHQ’s designer Martin Williams and printer Zenith Media; and to authors, subscribers and sponsors, including Seren Group who sponsored the celebration. The event also saw the launch of a revised sponsorship and subscription package.

With so many on the guest list there’s no room to mention all of WHQ’s many friends who drank a toast to WHQ and had a piece of the special birthday cake. Here’s to the next 25 years!

The next WHQ event is on Tuesday 17th November, Dr Peter Williams will talk at Cardiff University on ‘Taking the long view, 1990 – 2040, rebalancing the market.’

Judy Wayne is a director at Altair and member of the WHQ Advisory Board

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