Caffrey Hill: Tenant-led activities

Health and Wellbeing | Isolation/Loneliness
Clanmil HANorthern Ireland02/02/2017
What is the project?

With support from Clanmil’s Community Fund, which helps fund community and voluntary work with a social purpose, tenants are now taking the lead and using this space to independently develop and run events and initiatives for neighbours that are improving local people’s health and wellbeing and increasing the sense of community and neighbourliness in the area.

Who is the project targeted at?

The main beneficiaries are 500+ households Clanmil tenants, but this is not exclusive and open to all. We work in partnership with established organisations in the area who use the Hub on a regular basis including the main community forum in the Upper West Belfast area, the local Mens Shed, PSNI, local womens group, health and wellbeing classes etc.

Two tenants have quickly seized the opportunity to help address this disadvantaged area’s societal issues setting up 2 of their own classes for fellow tenants.

Why did the project come about?

Clanmil built a new development consisting of 167 units in one of the most deprived areas of Belfast providing much needed homes in the community. The units included 46 apartments. Under one of the apartment blocks Clanmil had 8 commercial units of which some were not occupied.

The Community Cohesion had begun working with tenants around some community issues that led to a number of partnerships being developed with local community and youth groups. Project have included:

• A six-week summer programme for 40 children
• ICT Courses (7 people achieved Level 1 accreditation and 12 attained Level 2)
• Essential skills in literacy for 6 people
• Hair and beauty diplomas for 18 participants
• Driving theory course
The Hub is also used for seasonal events for tenants and a new Clanmil Movie Club on a quarterly basis.

How was this project implemented?

With the support from Clanmil staff two tenants, in particular, have quickly seized the opportunity to help address this disadvantaged area’s societal issues by setting up their own classes for fellow tenants.
Our Tenants
• Elisha is registered disabled, was socially isolated and rarely left her home. Before the creation of Hub West, Elisha was disengaged from Clanmil and fairly disgruntled. Elisha’s hobby, crochet, was her release. It helped her focus on something positive and creative that distracted her from the struggles of day-to-day life. She wanted to share the benefits of her hobby with her neighbours and now volunteers 8 hours every week running a crochet group at the Hub for over 40 participants.

Elisha says, “People with all kinds of stresses and worries come to enjoy some Creative Therapy. They can unwind, have a chat and focus on something completely different. It’s good for my mental health too. It’s motivated me to get out, make friends and do something for myself.”

• Anne, a skilled artist, suffers from agoraphobia and depression. After having the courage to participate in a Clanmil programme at the Hub, she approached staff about using the space to run an art class for neighbours. 12 people currently attend her weekly class. Anne says the 4 hours she volunteers each week “take me out of my dark place”.

Watch Anne’s story here -

How was this project funded?

Hub West is supported by Clanmil which cover its running costs. It also acts as a satellite for Clanmil staff providing four “hot desks”. Other projects have been funded via council grants and partnership funding.

With support from Clanmil’s Community Fund, which helps fund community and voluntary work with a social purpose Anne and Elishia secured an initial £1000.00 to run their classes. This provided the basic tools and equipment to get it up and running.

Outcomes so far

Thanks to this partnership approach between Clanmil and our tenants, our west Belfast schemes are becoming more settled and sought-after places to live. Statistical evidence supports this.

Since Hub West opened:
• Terminations of tenancy have fallen by 60% at Caffrey Hill
• ASB has decreased by 25% and continues to stay at a lower level
• Cost of managing ASB has reduced by £7k pa
• Security costs have dropped by £17k pa
Clanmil uses the Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT) wellbeing valuation tool to measure the social impact of our work according to the impact on tenant wellbeing. In 2017, the HACT wellbeing value of the activities at Hub West was a whopping £300,000.

Future plans

We will continue to support our tenants using the Hub as a central base. We will continue to develop and build upon existing partnerships to ensure our tenants have the best support in improving their health and wellbeing, sustaining their tenancies and bringing the families up in a safe environment.

Both tenants have now began delivering classes in other areas to our tenants.

Contact Details

Philip Whyte