HOUSING and regeneration specialist Keepmoat is celebrating completing its 500th property as part of an £80m regeneration scheme which will improve thousands of homes across Barry.

The works, which started in 2012, will see more than 3,000 council-owned properties updated with new kitchens and bathrooms, electrical rewires and heating upgrades on behalf of Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The 500th resident to have her bathroom and kitchen refurbished as part of the council-run programme was Barry's Carole Williams.

Carole moved to the council owned block of flats on Parkland Walk to care for her mother 13 years ago.

The 66-year-old has showered the scheme with praise as it has given her a new bathroom, which has aided her recovery from an aggressive form of cancer.

“My new shower just means the whole world to me– it has made bathing much easier for me," she said.

“My home was transformed in just one month. The workmen were brilliant and worked around me as they carried out the work.

“The whole Keepmoat team from the workmen to the resident liaison officers have been a breath of fresh air."

The scheme is not only winning praise from residents, the works have created job opportunities for the local community as the Vale of Glamorgan aims to achieve the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) by 2017, three years ahead of the 2020 deadline.

Keepmoat, which is carrying out around a quarter of the works on the £80m programme, has so far employed seven apprentices from Cardiff and Vale College in Barry, two undergraduates from the University of Glamorgan and used 57 percent local contractors and sub-contractors in the Barry postcode area and a further 43 percent within 25 miles of the site.

Councillor Bronwen Brooks, Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety, said: “The WHQS works are proving to be a great success and it is very encouraging to hear such positive feedback from our tenants.

“All council properties will be upgraded under the scheme and there will be wider benefits to come from local jobs and apprenticeships in the area.”

Steve Locke, Project Manager for Keepmoat said: “These improvements are making are real difference to the lives of people living in Barry.

“We are proud to have been part of the works and to be working closely with the council as it works towards its housing targets.

“To hear stories like Carole’s make our jobs even more rewarding and we look forward to continuing to work with the council to deliver the improvements over the next three years.”