Housing association’s new deal to build 1,000 new energy efficient homes

Cartrefi Conwy; Pictured are Peter Lewis Group Director of Resources and Andrew Bowden Chief executive of Cartrefi Conwy on the Ysgol Maelgwn site, Llandudno. Picture Mandy Jones

A housing association has secured an extra £39 million in funding to build 1,000 new energy efficient homes.

According to Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden, the new finance package is a “gamechanger” that will enable the organisation to reach new heights and help kick start the North Wales economy back into life after the slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Around £22 million of the total is from Lloyds Bank and Cartrefi Conwy is the first social housing landlord in Wales to tap into their sustainability-linked funding which includes an interest rate reduction scheme to reward the provision of affordable, zero carbon homes and tackling homelessness.

Mr Bowden said: “This is private money coming in which is supplemented by Welsh Government money and, if the social housing grant levels are maintained at current levels, it means that £39 million effectively becomes nearly £100 million of additional money available.

“This is the fantastic thing about having housing associations in that we can really make Welsh Government public sector funding go as far as it can in building new affordable social homes in North Wales.

“When you factor in the economic multipliers, it all adds up to a massive £186 million  boost for North Wales economy and will create 4,500 jobs over the 10-year period.

“It’s a big win for our community because we’re spending our money in Wales and our tenants will also benefit from good quality, well maintained and cheap to run homes.”

Earlier this year Cartrefi Conwy’s subsidiary Creating Enterprise, recently named as the fastest growing firm in Wales at the 2020 Wales Fast Growth 50 awards, signed a five-year contract with a company called Beattie Passive giving them exclusive rights to their pioneering Passivhaus build system in North Wales.

As well as maintaining Cartrefi’s 4,000 properties, Creating Enterprise helps local people, including tenants, to find employment, training and volunteering opportunities. Its commercial profits are reinvested into its highly successful Creating Futures academy.

Mr Bowden added: “The new finance package allows us to bring our strategy to life is absolutely fantastic news for Cartrefi Conwy”.

“This has been made possible by our track record as a sustainable, well-managed company which put us in the enviable position of having offers from a range of funders and gave us the ability to choose deals which best suited our company, our circumstances and our ambition”.

“It will enable us to play a significant part in delivering the Welsh Government’s vision of delivering affordable, energy-efficient homes which help to tackle fuel poverty”.

“We are also committed to working closely with Conwy County Borough Council to help tackle homelessness. We are also working with our local authority and health partners across North Wales.

“Importantly, it sends out a message to developers and other housebuilders that Cartrefi Conwy is open for business and is ambitious to do even more.

Peter Lewis, the Group Director of Resources, who worked with Centrus, the group’s treasury advisors, to put together the new deals said “For me this is all about delivering more social homes and tackling the climate crisis. That’s very much in keeping with the Cartrefi Conwy ethos.

“Access to the new funding package is going to propel Cartrefi Conwy to a new level. It’s the key to unlocking 1000 new doors”.

“This is also brilliant news for the North Wales economy. We want to be as one of those anchor business, developing and growing our local supply chains.

Christopher Yau, origination and sustainability director at Lloyds Bank, said: “This deal will enable Cartrefi Conwy to play a part in the wider economic recovery, creating jobs, building sustainable homes and helping improve the lives of its residents in North Wales.

“By structuring this funding package in-line with the latest standards for sustainability in social housing, it will also help the region’s homes to become greener and cheaper to live in.”