Not wishing to sound disrespectful to Wales but it isn’t the first place you’d think of for coming up with a new initiative regarding empty homes, but it has trumped authorities in England with an innovative scheme.
The Community Impact Initiative (CII) in Merthyr Tydfil has combined the unemployed with the homeless to teach them valuable building skills along with professionals as they renovate empty properties in the area.
Trystan Jones, director of the scheme: ‘This is experience they don’t get anywhere else. This group and those who follow won’t be sat in a training classroom but learning on the job in an actual house.
The benefits aren’t just getting a house back in use it’s giving the people involved confidence and new skills and making them more employable.’
The CII purchased one house at auction in July for £50000 after a month of arranging the transfer, there were two weeks when specialist plumbing and electricians were tasked with checking it over and then it was gutted.
Trystan approached local agencies, groups or homeless hostels to get a team together. He settled on six who, are aged between 20 and 56. Five are unemployed, one is homeless, some have been out of work for months, some just want a new career.
Kristian James, 24, completed a carpentry course at Ystrad college but had been out of work since January. He was at his wits end after applying for over ten jobs without success so jumped at the chance to work with CII.
‘After being out of work so long this is building up my confidence again,’ he said.
Adrian Martin has had various jobs, but at the age of 56 he is trying something new and can be seen in the photo left working on an old kitchen ceiling.
Adrian, who lives in the Merthyr Valleys, saw the scheme advertised online. ‘This is the only way I would’ve got to have a go at this type of work. I really enjoy it ’ he admits.