Two pairs of hands holding a red bowl of tomatoes social impact

Adra Housing Association, Wales | Social, Economic and Wellbeing…

Adra has developed and grown into one of Wales’ leading social landlords with a significant focus on wellbeing and a recognisable impact on the communities they serve.  As an organisation Adra is seen as an anchor in the provision of services linked to the wellbeing including housing, and the support of vulnerable customers.

Photo of Bangor and the castle with boats in foreground.
Bangor, North Wales where Adra has its HQ. Image credit: Mitch Hodge, Unsplash

Urban Habitats worked as part of a team led by Afallen and including economist Mark Lang Consulting and Cwmni CELyn.  Adra’s brief required an economic, social, and wellbeing impact assessment over five years.  As well as using established socio-economic and social value methods such as HACT Social Value Bank and the National TOMs Wales the team also developed a holistic framework to report against – a six economies model:

  • Foundational economy
  • Circular economy
  • Planetary health economy
  • Just economy
  • Wellbeing economy
  • Cultural economy
A diagram showing the six economies listed in text.
Six economies – a holistic approach. Image credit: Afallen

The benefit of this was to provide both the specific, focussed metrics that tools such as HACT and economic quantification can provide and also to provide a holistic view across a range of benefits and value that may be created by Adra but not captured by these other methods.  The outputs were also tested against The Doughnut model, a circular economy model developed by Kate Raworth and the Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing, an ESG reporting tool developed in the UK.

Urban Habitats’ role was to bring expertise in health and wellbeing research and a public health lens.  This included support on and input to: complex systems thinking, policy alignment, survey design, interview protocols, the six economies domains especially health and wellbeing, and report writing and review.

As an extension to the original commission the team undertook a review of the impact of COVID-19 and the impact of this both on Adra’s activities and the subsequent value created for their communities and stakeholders.

The report findings were collated and reported in written reports and presented to senior management and members of the Board and will inform development of Adra’s strategic plans.

What we learned:

This project was delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic and required adapting as a team to working remotely as a project team, with Adra’s team, and also considering research data collection with wider stakeholders and participants.

Whilst we are ‘Dysgwr Cymraeg’ (learners!) it was a privilege and informative to participate in a team and client organisation that were multilingual which also encouraged greater consideration of the role of Welsh language contributing across a range of economies including wellbeing.

The team comprised leading experts in their respective fields which made for an enjoyable and fascinating project especially for us seeing how much overlap there is between socio-economic data and health and wellbeing data in public health / healthy placemaking.


It has been a pleasure to work with Urban Habitats during 2021. Their professionalism, insight and knowledge are superb assets to our team. We have them on speed-dial for anything to do with health, place or ‘wicked’ problems.

Dr David Clubb, Partner, Afallen

As an organisation we take our social responsibility seriously, and it was great to have the opportunity to work with a group who also share the same values as us. It was a pleasure to work with the team, who were keen to ensure that they met our needs and requirements, and were ready to be flexible in their approach as required. Their report on Adra’s social impact has given us great insight into our work thus far, and their recommendations will help us to make sure that we maximise the benefits we create for our customers and communities in the future.

Elin Williams, Community and Partnerships Manager, Adra

Want to know more?

Are you keen to think about health & wellbeing in your community, work, or organisation?  We love to listen!  get in touch

Image credit: Tim Mossholder, Unsplash