First Emmaus community in Wales opens
Bridgend AM Carwyn Jones was delighted to open the first Emmaus community in Wales on 22 January 2016.
The community will provide a home for up to 24 formerly homeless people, called companions, in a renovated former sheltered housing building, Nant Lais, in Cefn Glas, Bridgend.
The companions have to sign off all benefits except housing benefit, abide by the rules of the Emmaus community and agree to work a 40 hour week in the Emmaus South Wales Social Enterprise.
Over fifty people attended the Opening Ceremony at Nant Lais, including the Mayor and Mayoress of the Borough of Bridgend, representatives from Bridgend CBC, Valleys to Coast Housing, local businesses and voluntary sector organisations. The Emmaus UK President, Terry Waite CBE, who is out of the country, also sent a special message of congratulations.
The Chair of Emmaus South Wales, Mr. John Noble, said “I am delighted that we have opened the Emmaus South Wales community building and that Carwyn Jones AM has shown his support for what Emmaus South Wales is trying to do for formerly homeless people. We want to make a real difference for people trying to get out of homelessness and on with their lives”.
Bridgend Welsh Assembly Member Carwyn Jones said “I was delighted to open Nant Lais, the first Emmaus community Home in Wales. The Emmaus community Home will help some of the poorest individuals in society and give them access to a safe place to live and offer a supportive environment where they can start to rebuild their lives and regain their self-esteem. It will also provide training and employment opportunities, working in Emmaus’ social enterprise business”.
Mr Jones added “I was also pleased that Emmaus’ application to the Welsh Government’s Capital Fund that aims to tackle poverty, namely the Welsh Government’s Community Facilities Programme, was successful and that they were awarded a grant to support its first project in Wales”.
The Director of Emmaus South Wales, Mr. Tom Clarke, said “We could not have done this alone. There were fifty people who attended the opening last week, representing many organisations and groups, who have all played a role in making the dream of Wales’ first Emmaus community a reality. So it is important to remember how much help Emmaus South Wales has received in its quest to work together to end homelessness”.