The South Wales Freemasons have donated £25,000 to Huggard, Wales’ leading centre for people who are sleeping rough in Cardiff. The money will be used to replace the Cardiff based charity’s 15-year-old vehicle
The Huggard remains open 24/7 and for more than 30 years has given people who are homeless and vulnerable the specialist support they need to rebuild their lives and to have a future again.
The charity has worked with nearly 900 homeless people since the first of the Covid-19 lockdowns in March 2020, and it fully expects this number to continue rising over the next 12 to 18 months as the number of people in the city facing homelessness increases.
The homeless crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people losing their jobs and finding themselves either living on the streets or in unsuitable living conditions.
According to the latest monthly figures from the Welsh Government, 1,335 people presented as homeless and were placed into emergency accommodation across Wales during October, 2020. That’s an increase of nearly 12% on the previous month.
Richard Edwards, Chief Executive of Huggard, said: 'As part of the service that Huggard offers, we transport our clients to appointments they need to attend and, before the Covid-19 restrictions, to organised events. Our clients rely heavily on us for this, as most struggle to use public transport because of the cost. It’s a situation that has worsened during the pandemic. Our current vehicle has certainly seen better days and has needed to be replaced for a while now. Sadly, we just couldn’t afford to do it.
'We’re very grateful to the South Wales Freemasons for their generous grant. It’ll make a huge difference to us, and more importantly, to the people we support.
'Our Critical Intervention Centre is not a place where people end up. It’s where their journey starts as our specialist teams work with clients to help them deal with the traumas that led to them becoming homeless or trap them on the streets.
'A new vehicle will make an enormous difference to us as well as to our services and mean we can offer so much more to clients.'
Gareth Jones, Head of the South Wales Freemasons said: 'I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help the Huggard Centre replace its vehicle at the most difficult of times. To be able to offer transportation is essential for the charity to fully support those who find themselves homeless, and this new vehicle will enable the charity to continue to assist those who need it most.'