A housing association is one of the best places to work in the UK – and that’s official.
Cartrefi Conwy are celebrating after being honoured in the prestigious Sunday Times Top 100 competition in the category for not-for-profit organisations.
The award came after staff filled in an anonymous online survey, giving their thoughts on a range of questions from leadership to terms and conditions and fair pay to promotion opportunities.
The organisation was created in 2008 following a stock transfer vote by tenants.
As a result, Cartrefi Conwy took over responsibility for around 3,800 social housing properties from Conwy County Borough Council.
After being designated as “one to watch” last year, Cartrefi Conwy has now broken into the Top 100 in the Sunday Times list.
Older person’s engagement co-ordinator NerysVeldhuizen, independent living manager Ceri Twist and creative digital media coordinator Guto Williams were delighted to hear the news.
Nerys Veldhuizen said: “Cartrefi Conwy has invested in me. I started out as a warden but they supported me and financed my diploma and helped me develop. Senior managers identified I could do better and supported me.
“I’m allowed to be creative and to shape and develop my role. It’s all about listening but more than that, it’s about actually hearing what’s been said and acting upon it.”
Ceri added: “I came to work at Cartrefi Conwy on secondment and was taken on in a full time role. There really is a good management structure and to be fair, coming to work is fun.
“I like who I work with and I like my managers. I’m listened to and I’m valued. There are days out, team building events and Christmas parties. Morale is high and it shows. We all buy into the ethos that we are building communities to be proud of.”
It was a similar message from Guto who said: “Staff really are invested in. I started out as an apprentice and they supported me and put me through my NVQ’s before promoting me after I was successful.
“I’m not the only one; lots of people find they are invested in. Managers are professional without being patronising or too serious and the chief executive and senior managers sit alongside staff at training sessions. That’s how we work.
“The result is our tenants are valued and we are making a difference to their lives. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”
Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden said: “The survey was completely confidential and people were encouraged to be frank and open and to say exactly how they felt.
“Amazingly the uptake of staff completing the survey was in excess of 90 per cent which is an amazing response in itself. I would have anticipated no more than about 60 or 70 per cent would have taken the time to actually complete the survey.
“Clearly staff feel they are valued and what came across in their responses was they recognise Cartrefi Conwy’s commitment to the communities we serve.
“Employees understand we work really hard at enhancing the lives of all our tenants, including people who have perhaps had less opportunity in life than others or are particularly vulnerable.
“As the chief executive of Cartrefi Conwy I’m incredibly honoured to lead this organisation and I’m proud of what we have, and continue to, achieve.
“As a not-for-profit organisation, staff know any surplus income we generate is reinvested back into the communities we serve through events such as our Older People’s Day, our Big Day Out and our Christmas events.
Siobhan Johnson, Cartrefi Conwy’s Head of Human Resources added: “I’m really proud to work at Cartrefi.
“Our colleagues make this the company it is, they work hard and have achieved a lot over the years, overcoming daily challenges to support our tenants and helping to create communities to be proud of.”
Gas supervisor Jon Beer added: “It really is a good company to work for and we do have a management structure that listens and senior managers take on board what we say.
“I had the idea of bringing gas services in house instead of sub-contracting the work out. It meant we could do a better job more cheaply. As a result I won a Bright Idea Award, was presented with a £150 voucher and a glass trophy.
“I really do feel we are in a good place and the company has evolved.”