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Celebrating National Housing Day with Community Housing Cymru

November 18, 2022

Today is National Housing Day: The 18th November marks the 10th annual celebration of social housing. 

However, it might seem like there is little to celebrate about housing in the UK today: As rent prices soar, so do house prices: The price of an average house is 9.45 times average wage. Mortgage interest rates are as high as 2008, and repossession rates are creeping back up after COVID-19. To make matters worse, the energy bills are going through the roof along with the heating due to bad insulation: One third of the UK’s CO2 emissions are from heating draughty buildings. Just yesterday, we heard the news of the tragic death of two-year-old, Awaab Ishak, caused by chronic exposure to mould in his family home. 

Although a lot of hardship has been created at UK-wide level with ramifications for ordinary people across the UK, we want to celebrate some exciting news about those taking matters into their own hands and actively working towards more inclusive tenant engagement in the housing sector. We’re partnering with Community Housing Cymru in our very own home, Wales. 

The Welsh Housing SenseMaker® Partnership aims to create “an innovative 12 month project to hear and make sense of the experiences of people from across Wales in order to improve the services that the housing associations provide,” according to Andrea Gale, Head of Business Improvement and Governance at Linc Cymru. 

This willingness to engage in active sensemaking and listen to people’s needs and hopes around housing should be a lesson to any government or organisation who has an interest in the needs of those they serve. Using SenseMaker®, a mixed methods, narrative and quantitative research tool, everybody in a local area has the opportunity to tell their own stories about where they live, what they love and what they would like to change. This is fundamentally a community-based approach to housing issues. 

“The Sensemaker Partnership involves Community Housing Cymru working alongside six Housing Associations;  Linc Cymru, Caredig, Monmouthshire Housing, Coastal Housing Group, RHA Wales and Hafod,” says Louise Shute, the Member Services Manager for Community Housing Cymru. “Together, colleagues from a range of departments including tenant engagement, data analysts and communications work on the data they collect to effect short and long term change.” 

The Cynefin Co is very excited to be part of this partnership and embark on this exploration of what tenants think about their area, their community, its strengths and areas for improvement, and most importantly, what really matters to them. Learn more about this project by checking out this video.

In challenging times, it has never been more important to engage tenants in developing their area on their terms so they can decide what they want for their community, rather than decision-making being consigned to those at the top. 

So we’re celebrating National Housing Day with a soft launch of our pre-designed collector on Community & Housing. Housing is one of the most fundamental aspects of our daily lives. Whatever the situation in your community, our living situations and the surrounding environment could always be improved. The aim of this collector is to explore how people feel about their area, who is responsible and what needs to change. 

Next week, we’ll launch the Community & Housing pre-designed collector with a downloadable pdf which explains the theory behind the signifiers. But don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to learn more about getting this SenseMaker® for your context.

Heade image by Chris Curry on Unsplash

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About the Cynefin Company

The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.
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