Aelwyd (which for non-Welsh speakers means “the hearth” – the heart of a home) is a Christian based Housing Association which was formed as a partnership between the Baptist Housing Association (BHA) Presbyterian Church of Wales, and United Reformed Church, Wales Province.
BHA had been founded as the Baptist Men’s Movement Housing Association in 1966 to provide housing for retired Baptist ministers and missionaries but over the years had expanded to cater for the elderly in general. In Wales, the first housing scheme was built at Splott in Cardiff in 1978. At each scheme a voluntary committee, (Local Care Group), was set up comprising members of the Christian community. Members of the Group offered valuable assistance with the day to day running of the property as well as trying to improve the quality of life for tenants. Unfortunately this concept has not survived the regulatory demands imposed but Aelwyd continues to look for ways in which it can involve members of the local community.
However, as a result of the 1988 Housing Act (which set up Housing For Wales) BHA found it was not possible to develop any more schemes in Wales since it was not registered as a separate Housing Association in Wales. Meanwhile, the United Reformed Church Housing Association was seeking to develop in Wales but was hitting the same problem – not being Welsh registered and too small. Furthermore, a third body, the Presbyterian Church of Wales, was also actively pursuing the idea of becoming involved in social housing. The three bodies were led to meet together and for over a year discussions took place in a full Christian spirit culminating in the registration as a Housing Association of Aelwyd in March 1991.
The transfer of the existing properties to Aelwyd from Baptist Housing Association went smoothly but the development of new schemes became increasingly more difficult. However during the period 1991 to 1996 a further seven new schemes were developed resulting in an additional 71 units of accommodation. No new development work has been undertaken since, although in the late nineties the Association assumed responsibility for three former Abbeyfield schemes. In 2008 these extended care schemes were transferred to another larger Association.
Currently we have 246 properties spread throughout the South Wales area.