Grŵp Cynefin has appointed Carys Edwards, a former head of adult services for Isle of Anglesey Council, as its new chair.
From Parc, near Bala, Carys joined the Board in 2014, after taking early retirement to become self-employed and start a social care consultancy.
Her priority now is to guide the housing association, which manages 4,800 properties throughout North Wales and north Powys, as it focuses on ‘exciting’ new opportunities while at the same time dealing with the continuing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Carys said: “During the last six months, we’ve done well focusing on delivering services safely, looking out for the well-being of our tenants and staff.
“COVID has brought about a number of issues, and it’s still with us. But if we can look beyond it, it’s an exciting time, although we have to continue dealing with it.”
“Now we have an opportunity to start looking forward to a new period of growth, providing excellent homes and services for our customers. I’m really looking forward to developing our plans and seeing results on the ground.
“Partnerships will be key to progress. We’re making good progress, not just with local authorities, as we’re also working with health authorities, primary care providers and providers of further education, amongst others.
“It’s what the Welsh Government expects us to be doing and it’s achievable.
“We have a fantastic project coming up to develop a Dyffryn Nantlle health and wellbeing hub in Penygroes, Gwynedd.
“For a rural area, it’s going to make such a positive difference to the health and well-being of households living in the area. It also has the added benefit of helping to regenerate the centre of Penygroes, by working with partner organisations, and I would love to see us roll out similar projects in other rural areas.”
Carys, who chose to give up working as a semi-professional singer to focus on her career, has a great deal of experience in social care, earlier in her career holding posts as a social care complaints officer; quality assurance officer; and care standards inspector for the Welsh Government.
She explained: “When I joined, I had no background in housing, but I wanted a voluntary position and felt that I would be bringing my knowledge of tenants and knowledge of the care sector to Grŵp Cynefin.
“I’m going to continue to build on the foundations of my predecessor, Dafydd Lewis, and the first chair, John Arthur Jones.
“Grŵp Cynefin recruited four new board members last year and the skills we have now around the board table put us in a very sound position to develop successfully.”
In between her voluntary and work commitments, Carys keeps busy helping on the family farm; spending time with her grandsons and sitting at her piano to compose songs and play music.
New vice-chair is Elen Williams, a director of business support company, Menter a Busnes.
Elen, who lives in Porthmadog, joined the Grŵp Cynefin Board in 2017, and also sits on its finance and growth committee.
She said: “These are exciting times for the housing association. There is a need for affordable housing, particularly in rural areas, and we’ve got some good plans going forward. A benefit of Grŵp Cynefin is that it’s very grounded in the communities that it serves, and it’s visible and accessible, which is what tenants need.
“There are plenty of opportunities for growth in terms of building new housing across the region and there are also more opportunities for us to do more community-based activities.
“In addition, it’ll be exciting to see how we can develop the extra care provision further.”
Grŵp Cynefin chief executive Shan Lloyd Williams said: “I’m so pleased to welcome Carys and Elen to their new positions. Their combined experience in the social care and business sectors will prove valuable as we make progress towards realising our vision of making a positive difference to lives and communities.
“Grŵp Cynefin is entering a busy and exciting period, and we’re going to benefit greatly from their leadership.”