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The importance of housing, health and culturally sensitive services has never been greater.

Taff Housing’s Red Sea House provides affordable housing for older people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities in Cardiff. It is one of a kind in Wales and provides culturally sensitive support to residents.

The history of Red Sea House is as important as its present. The scheme was finished in 2002 to replace previous temporary accommodation which was being demolished. The boarding houses, as they were known, provided a home-from-home for many seamen who developed friendships that have since extended generations. As the need for permeant settlement grew, Red Sea House was built to support older people to maintain those foundations in the heart of the community and keep the strong connections that remain today.

Located next to the mosque, and within a short walk to all local amenities, Red Sea House has acted as a community hub throughout its existence. The safety of residents has always been paramount but as the community ages, this brings new challenges and complex needs.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders and it is more common in elderly people. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, research suggests that BME communities often face delays in dementia diagnosis and barriers in accessing services. Taff has recognised this and we are now embarking on a project to ensure Red Sea House becomes Dementia Friendly as well as reviewing the cultural support that we can offer. This is part of our commitment to Deeds Not Words which outlines our aim to provide fully accessible and inclusive services to all residents.

The ability to be supported by a person who speaks your own language and understands in full your cultural needs is incredibly valuable and helps to remove some of the known barriers to services. Nothing has highlighted more the importance of housing, health and financial stability than the impact Covid-19.

It is an exciting time for Red Sea House as it approaches its 20th year, with lots of work still to come. The project is being led by residents and their carers… because they are the people for which the support that Red Sea House offers, matters most.