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Gwynne Jones retires from Cartrefi Conwy

After starting his career as a temporary rent collector in the 1980s, Gwynne Jones has retired as managing director of Cartrefi Conwy hailed as ‘a legend of the social housing sector in Wales’.

Mr Jones joined Cartrefi Conwy after it was created by a majority vote by tenants in 2008 in favour of transferring the 3,800 properties from the ownership of Conwy County Borough Council.

Among his proudest achievements was masterminding a £30 million modernisation programme of the properties and bringing them all up to the required Welsh Quality Housing Standard by the 2012 deadline.

Then last year a flag raising ceremony marked a double coup for Cartrefi Conwy when it was acclaimed for managing the first Welsh housing estates to be awarded with Green Flag status.

Six years ago the Peulwys estate in Llysfaen, above Old Colwyn, became the first to receive the internationally-recognised accolade after a £4 million environmental improvement programme.

The Tre Cwm estate in Llandudno followed suit after a £1.4 million transformation which reconnected youngsters there with the natural environment by creating communal areas which families can enjoy and where children can safely play

The estate has also benefited from redesigned roads, setting out car parking spaces, footpaths and changing concrete areas into green spaces – all brightened up by a major programme of planting trees, shrubs and flowers.

The work came on top of the £2.75 million spent by the association to improve the estate’s houses, flats and maisonettes which were built in the 1970s.

Gwynne is also proud that Cartrefi Conwy has set up an award-winning subsidiary, Creating Enterprise, which has set up an Employment Academy and is now building modular, carbon free homes and providing work and job opportunities.

He has also played an important role in developing a £45 million strategy to build 428 homes over the next three years.

His track record of success was rewarded with the outstanding commitment award at the Welsh Housing Awards organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru (CIH) last December.

Originally from Llanrwst and now living in Ruthin, his career in social housing began in 1987 as a temporary rent collector for the old Arfon Borough Council in 1987. He later working for the then Denbigh-based Cymdeithas Tai Clwyd, now part of Grŵp Cynefin, before joining the newly-formed  Cartrefi Conwy as operations director in 2008.

He said:

‘The opportunity to work for Cartrefi Conwy was one I could not have refused really because it gave me the chance to make a significant difference to our communities.

‘The mission to create communities to be proud of has been the driving force of the organisation from day one.

‘Cartrefi Conwy has always been an innovative organisation, with new ideas coming through all the time and always raising the bar in terms of standards

‘From the early days, we had a huge task in front of us to deliver the improvements that the tenants had voted for. We wanted to do that but also to try and create a legacy.

‘When you look back at 2008 after the financial crash, Cartrefi Conwy was investing heavily in the local economy, creating jobs and providing work experience and training for our tenants.

‘Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, said that if she could bottle what Cartrefi have done in Tre Cwm, Wales would be a better place and that made me feel very proud, so whatever else, I’ll always have that in my mind.’

Andrew Bowden, chief executive of Cartrefi Conwy, said:

‘Gwynne has played a huge part in the success of Cartrefi Conwy and he will be greatly missed by all his colleagues.

‘Over the years Gwynne has shown wonderful leadership and has embodied the core values of Cartrefi Conwy, with a ready smile and a steely determination to deliver on our promises to tenants in creating communities to be proud of. Quite simply, Gwynne is a legend of the social housing sector in Wales.

‘He can retire safe in the knowledge that he has laid firm foundations for an even more successful future for Cartrefi Conwy and his legacy will live on. We wish him all the very best for a happy and fulfilling retirement.’

Matt Dicks, director of Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Cymru, paid tribute to Gwynne’s work with the organisation. He said:

‘CIH is the membership body for the housing sector in Wales, and across the UK and whilst we have a dedicated and talented pool of staff we cannot not do what we do without the committed volunteers we have giving up their spare time across the Wales and UK.

‘One of those volunteers is Gwynne Jones who has supported CIH Cymru in one guise or another for more than 25 years. He was Secretary of the Wales branch of CIH for many years before it changed to the CIH Cymru Board, before taking up the mantra of Board Events Champion in recent years and obviously stepping into the role of Welsh Housing Awards compere.

‘On a personal note, Gwynne has been immensely supportive of me since I took up the role of director in Wales. Always a beacon of sage advice but most importantly his enthusiasm for the role that CIH plays in the housing sector and the willingness for it to help and support all of us working in housing in Wales, and across the UK is an inspiration.

‘Gwynne has housing and CIH in his soul, Diolch yn fawr Gwynne a’r holl gorau ar gyfer eich ymddeoliad!!’

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