A neighbourhood management trainee from Conwy has won a national award.
Alexandra Weaver, 30, who works for housing association Cartrefi Conwy beat off competition from across Wales to be named as a Rising Star by the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru (CIH).
The award was presented at Cardiff City Hall at the organisation’s annual conference.
The competition won by Alex was open to anyone working or studying in Welsh housing and making a positive contribution to neighbourhoods and communities in Wales.
Alex, who moved north from her home near Newport to join Cartrefi Conwy two years ago, was delighted to have won the tough competition.
She said: “It’s amazing and a real boost to my career. I really enjoy my role with Cartrefi Conwy and everyone from the top down has been brilliant to work with. Without my colleagues, at all levels, winning an award such as this simply would not have been possible.
“I was amazed to be nominated and even more amazed to discover I was one of only three to make the shortlist.
“Having made the shortlist I was visited at my Cartrefi Conwy workplace by the panel of judges so they could observe my day to day activities such as my work with our social letting agencies, our garage re-development programme and our successful Passion for Life programme.
“We then had to write two 500 word blogs on the CIH website as well as take over the institute’s twitter account and host an hour-long session on a housing-related topic of my choice; I chose problems with the private rented sector.
“I wrote a blog called Breaking the Cycle, giving my views on homelessness prevention through partnership working. I wanted to highlight the need for support services to meet the gap in the tenancy management provided in the private sector that a social landlord, such as Cartrefi Conwy, fulfils for its tenants.
“Finally, I gave a presentation to the conference called Here’s the Plan for Housing. I have to say I was shocked but absolutely thrilled when it was announced I was the winner of the Rising Stars Cymru award.”
Alex, who studied physiology at Cardiff University before completing a master’s degree in rural estate management at the Royal Agricultural University at Cirencester, is now completing a second master’s degree in housing through the CIH.
Having been named the winner of the CIH Rising Stars Cymru award she landed a host of prizes including a year’s mentoring from an influential and inspirational housing professional.
She said: “As part of the prize package I also get the opportunity to shadow the Welsh Government Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Leslie Griffiths AM who has responsibility for housing, for a day as well as having a feature-article published in Welsh Housing Quarterly.
She added: “I’m passionate about housing and working with partner agencies to increase the number of sustainable tenancies we have. We know, for example, that prison leavers need a safe home, a safe job and a stable relationship.
“It isn’t just about providing a tenant with a house to rent. It’s about creating communities to be proud of which is a Cartrefi Conwy pledge that I wholeheartedly agree with.”
Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden was proud of Alex’s achievement.
He said: “Alex has worked exceptionally hard and is clearly passionate about housing and our pledge of creating communities to be proud of.
“She deserves her success and I’m delighted she chose to join Cartrefi Conwy, she clearly has a very bright future and career ahead of her.”