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Promoting Independence Awards 2017

Now in their 11th year, the Promoting Independence Awards recognise people and organisations for their good work and progress in housing-related support in Wales.

The awards are organised by Cymorth Cymru in partnership with Welsh local authorities, to recognise work done to improve the lives of vulnerable people in Wales.

The Promoting Independence Awards are unique in celebrating the success of a sector that works with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in society, as well as challenging stereotypes and recognising the inspirational journeys and achievements of those very people.

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 aimed to change the way in which Wales tackles homelessness through increasing the focus on prevention, improving access to the private rented sector and aiming to ensure every citizen has a safe and comfortable place to live. The winners of this year’s awards have shown that despite a challenging financial environment, they are vital partners in delivering these aims and improving lives.

The judges’ decisions in the eight categories were as follows.

  • The Showcase Award for Homelessness Prevention
    Sponsored by Crisis
  • Winner: Merthyr and the Valleys Mind, for the Step-by-Step Project

This project is a collaboration with Wales Institute for Health and Social Care and RCT Council, working with single homeless people.

As part of their outcomes recording they have found that 74 per cent of service users have reported an improvement in motivation, 83 per cent have reported an improvement in emotional and mental health, 40 per cent reported better social networks and using their time in a more meaningful way and 22 per cent also reported an improvement in their substance misuse.


  • The Showcase Awards for Personal Achievement
    Sponsored by Pobl Group


Kylie, working with Hafan Cymru;
Laurence, working with the Wallich;
Natalia, working with Gorwel.

The homelessness and housing related support sector transforms lives, but its success often depends on the courage and determination of the people using services. This award recognises the remarkable progress and significant challenges that many people have overcome on their journey towards independence.

We encourage organisations to nominate people who have used their services and whose story will inspire others. This is perhaps the most important category, recognising the potential of people to overcome barriers and transform their lives. These three awards were presented to individuals who have overcome extraordinary personal adversity to regain control of their lives in some ways:

  • The Service Innovation Award
    Sponsored by Llamau and Tai Pawb

Winner: Clwyd Alyn Housing Association for Erw Groes Family Centre.

Erw Groes Family Centre is a supported living scheme, which provides temporary accommodation to homeless families for approximately a year. The pioneering pilot involves health visitors, Women’s Aid and Clwyd Alyn working closely together to offer enhanced support on-site.

  • The Employment, Training and Skills Award
    Sponsored by Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership

Winner: Salvation Army for the Life College.

The Life College provides opportunities for improvement through training, education and volunteering to lead to employment. It provides safe learning experiences to sustain independent living in the community, in areas like confidence, team work, mental health and wellbeing, budgeting and cooking.

  • The Involvement and Engagement Award

Sponsored by Merthyr Valleys Homes

Winner: Solas Cymru for its Apprentice project.

Each team, consisting of staff and clients from a Solas service, was given £50 to develop a social business idea. The Apprentice launched in September 2015 with 12 teams of clients and staff from across Solas. The teams came up with their own ideas that drew on their strengths. They made a net profit of £3,700, and in the second year, 17 teams made a net profit of £4,600.

  • The Excellent Commissioning Award
    Sponsored by United Welsh

Winner: Caerphilly Supporting People Team

Caerphilly SP Team has encouraged support providers to develop a working relationship with private rented sector landlords to offer a collaborative approach to housing homeless people. They have encouraged and enabled support providers to be responsive, and when they receive a referral, support providers are able to go straight to the area identified without the need for complicated assessments, to offer assistance and advice.

  • The Working in Partnership Award
    Sponsored by The Salvation Army

Winner: Llamau, for the partnership of its independent domestic violence advisors with Cardiff City Council’s Flying Start programme.

The Wallich ensures all service users are supported in a way that promotes their independence. Theatre vs Oppression uses applied theatre and film techniques as a form of therapy with individuals, groups and communities.

The partnership provided individuals with a support toolkit to work towards recovery and inclusion, and a safe place to work out difficult stories and find their voice.

  • The Antonia Watson Inspirational Colleague Award

Sponsored by The Wallich

Winner: Tim Parr, Solas Cymru

Tim was nominated by his colleagues, who praised his resilience and his ability to roll up his sleeves and get on.


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