A Bridgend charity has been awarded £97,550 from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) to help ensure the vital support it offers to formerly homeless people can continue amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Homelessness charity Emmaus South Wales supports 17 people who have previously been homeless by offering a place to live within a communal setting and the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience in its five charity shops.
The £97k award has been made as part of the WCVA’s new grant scheme to enable voluntary organisations providing vital support during the coronavirus crisis to continue.
The majority of the funds Emmaus South Wales needs to survive are generated by selling donated items in the charity’s Bridgend, Cowbridge, Maesteg and Porthcawl shops. With its shops temporarily closed, the charity was facing a 90% reduction in income.
Speaking on the impact the grant will have, Jemma Wray, Chief Executive at Emmaus South Wales, said:
“We are delighted that WCVA has chosen to fund our vital work supporting formerly homeless people. At Emmaus, we provide more than just a bed for the night, offering a home for as long as needed, the opportunity to gain work experience in our shops, and tailored support so people can rebuild their lives.
“Despite our shops being closed, the Emmaus staff team are doing all they can to keep our residents safe, supported and active during the lockdown and beyond. The longer our shops need to remain closed, the more difficult funding this work becomes. The future of our charity was very uncertain until receiving the lifeline we needed thanks to WCVA.”
The grant primarily safeguards the core services Emmaus South Wales provides and will be used to pay core salaries, along with meeting resident costs during the pandemic. It will also help fund the charity’s Rainbow Packs project, which has been launched to provide entertainment packs to support people throughout isolation.
Ruth Marks, CEO at WCVA, said:
“The work of voluntary organisations in Wales is vital, especially at this time. We are so glad that organisations such as Emmaus South Wales are able to continue their heroic efforts thanks to much needed financial support from the Voluntary Services Emergency Fund.”
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt (Lab, Vale of Glamorgan), said:
“It is fantastic to see Welsh Government funding working as intended to support a third sector organisation which is providing such vital services to some of Wales’ most vulnerable people. I want to say thank you to the volunteer groups and charities who are supporting Wales through the Covid-19 pandemic. You are amazing.”