The geographies of place for tenant participation in the housing association sector: A case study of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales

Tom Lambourne

Tom Lambourne is currently in the final year of his ESF-funded KESS 2 PhD in Human Geography at the University of South Wales, and has been conducting research into tenant participation in the housing association sector in Wales.

The partner organisation is Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association (MTHA), based in Merthyr Tydfil. The organisation is a medium-sized housing association, with around 1000 properties across the borough. The organisation provides a wide range of housing, welfare and community services for both its tenants and the surrounding population.

The project focusses on the organisation’s community participation provision, exploring the geographical impacts and challenges of the process, by working with the MTHA, its partners and its tenants.

Tom says: “This project has been really rewarding for me. I have enjoyed working with the tenants and with MTHA, who have both been really keen to be involved in the KESS project and to jointly develop this research to benefit their tenants.”

The KESS 2 scholarship package covered a generous stipend, as well as Tom’s costs for IT equipment, training, events, travel and consumables. PhD fees are waived for all KESS 2 scholars.

The KESS 2 programme has also enabled Tom to partake in a number of international geography and industry conferences, in New Orleans, Washington DC and Italy, to share best practice with both academics and practitioners in community and tenant participation.

“The KESS programme has given me a fantastic entry route into academic research, and has shaped me personally and professionally for the future. The links I have made with MTHA and its surrounding communities in South Wales are definitely something that I will want to build upon going forward.”

About KESS 2

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher-level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

USW and KESS 2

For further information about how your organisation could benefit from participating in KESS 2, please contact the USW KESS team on 01443 482567 or email

The USW KESS team is based within Research and Innovation Services (RISe), part of Research and Business Engagement. RISe is a dedicated team providing specialist support for Research Infrastructure; Postgraduate Research Support; Research Impact; and Income Generation.