As your new Chair this is my first report to shareholders. I’ve been a board member for 6 years and was elected Chair in September 2017. I was conscious both of stepping into some big shoes, but also the very busy agenda we have.
Welfare reform has been a challenge to date, but our investment in staff and the relationships we have invested in have paid off, and we have seen very little increase in rent arrears by the year end. However, Universal Credit began to be rolled out in February this year and we are still concerned about the impact on tenants.
We are proud of our social purpose and the difference we make. As well as providing new homes, our housing and support teams have adopted a “restorative approach” to change the way we work with tenants and are starting see the benefit. Realise Your Potential (RYP) helped many tenants build confidence and skills. NuLife Furniture provides low cost furniture to make sure that no one has to spend their first night on the floor of their new home. Our private sector leasing team (Calon) sourced accommodation that housed over 300 families in need of temporary accommodation.
For many years we have been looking at how we can increase income to support our social purpose, and this year saw a major step up in commercial activity. We are already growing our market rental and sales activity, provide some development agency services, have developed some retail outlets and have also decided to build for market sale. We have purchased a site in Cardiff Bay and are setting up a commercial subsidiary company to improve the returns back into Cadwyn.
These developments are an exciting step forward for us. We are conscious however of the need to manage the increased risks by ensuring that we have the right skills and advice in place to ensure risks are managed. Last year we welcomed Sioned Hughes, Derek Walker, John Union and Cathy Madge onto our Board, having lost Karin Alderson whose skills we miss.
I would also like to mention my (and the Boards) gratitude to Iwan Jones who was our Chair for the previous four years, and who has remained on the board this year. Iwan’s greatest contribution was to build a team of board members who are proud of Cadwyn, and manage to create a culture of support and robust challenge that helps us move forward.
Lastly, I would like to thank all our partners including our tenants and our staff, for the efforts they make to make a difference to many people’s lives.