Climate Change Minister Julie James has spoken about meeting people on ‘journeys of hope’ at a new drop-in centre in Neath.
The Minister was speaking after a visit to The Salvation Army’s Fresh Expression and Core Recovery Plant in Neath town centre.
The centre officially opened in November 2021 and now provides drop-in services for people in need.
These services come from multi-agency support and include housing advice, counselling services, assistance with benefits and medical care.
The centre also provides opportunities for clients to engage in activities that help build their confidence and ability to move into independent living.
Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “It’s been really lovely to visit the Haven today so see all of the services that can be provided to people here in Neath.
“It was great to meet so many service users and hear about their journeys.
“They have gone from people who found themselves without a home to people who now have accommodation and access to all the services required to keep things that way.
“The Haven provides all the services you can think of to help people with that journey and we are very pleased that the Welsh Government, working with the local authority, is able to support projects like this across Wales.”
The Welsh Government supports the Haven through its Housing Support Grant to the local authority, which funds a full-time post at the Haven.
The post holder works with Agored to develop and deliver training courses including cookery, budgeting and managing stress.
The courses assist people gain greater confidence and independence.
Between November 2021 and December 2022, the Haven delivered and awarded certificates for 42 Agored Cymru accredited courses and more than 50 Learn Direct courses.
Haven Learner Shaun Hughes said: The Haven is a safe and welcoming environment .The courses have helped me gain a better understanding of myself and I have gained a lot of confidence in many aspects of my life cooking, managing stress and knowing that its OK to ask for help.
Haven Learner Courtney Williams added: “The Haven has helped me a lot with managing my stress and many more things, the courses are so helpful towards daily life. The staff there are so welcoming and genuinely amazing people who bring a nice warm relaxing environment to be in, the courses continue to help me loads and I look forward to every week at The Haven.
The Salvation Army’s Major Neil Duquemin said:
“From its inception during the worst Covid months in 2020 – when so many people struggled to access the help they needed – to the flourishing drop-in service that it is today, It was a pleasure to be able to show the Minister how The Salvation Army and our partners are transforming the lives of many of Neath’s most vulnerable people.
“The Salvation Army has a rich history of opening its doors throughout Wales, offering support and advice to the people most in need. The extra funding we receive for projects like The Haven enables us to bring in the specialist staff and structure to deliver the best outcomes for our clients and for the whole community. This place is literally helping to save lives.”
Councillor Alun Llewelyn, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing & Community Safety added:
“The Haven drop-in centre provides a vital service to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“With the help of multi-agency services and dedicated professionals, those in need are able to access a range of support services in a safe and welcoming environment.
“The council is proud to support this initiative and to see the positive impact it has on the lives of those who access its services.”