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Charity enhances support to families across Wales

A charity which helps parent carers across Wales navigate the world of disabilities, palliative care and bereavement, has received a funding boost to provide further support to its community.

Advocates and Angels has partnered with Wales & West Utilities, which has provided £30,000 of funding to supplement the charity’s support services in helping parents caring for children. It is now hoped that through the two-year partnership more than 7,000 parents across Wales will receive help in a range of areas including awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, receiving of Warm Packs, signing up to the Priority Services Register (PSR) and accessing free CO alarms.

The funding will allow Wales & West Utilities staff to train Advocates and Angels own staff and volunteers to become more knowledgeable across the broad spectrum of support services and make referrals.

Advocates and Angels was established by Bethan Germon in memory of her daughter Lydia, who was born in 2015 with significant disabilities and tragically died in July 2020. The charity gives emergency care packages, providing parents with hygiene essentials to give them dignity when caring for their poorly child. They work in hospitals across Wales and currently deliver their services to 24 wards across the country.

Bethan Germon, founder and trustee at Advocates and Angels, said:

“We know first-hand just how daunting dealing with trauma is and we exist purely to help parents and carers navigate the world of disabilities, hospital admissions, palliative care and bereavement.

“Over time we naturally form extremely close relationships with our families and this funding allows us to supplement the huge amount of support and advice we already provide with practical advice that will benefit people in their home lives.

“On behalf of the families we’ll help through this project I’d like to say a huge thank you to Wales & West Utilities for its support in helping us to further aid our families.”
Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, has provided the funding as part of its Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA). The project will run until June 2025.

Sophie Shorney, Vulnerability & Carbon Monoxide Allowance Manager at Wales & West Utilities, said:

“We’re happy that this funding will further the support that so many families rely on from Advocates and Angels.

“By working in partnership, we can reach more people, providing them with the help they need to ensure they receive the right support and help with their bills, as well as keeping them safe and warm in their own homes.”
Carbon monoxide (CO), known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, kills 50 people a year in England and Wales and hospitalises many more. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident and & Emergency for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage. Even low levels of exposure over an extended period can cause serious health issues, including brain injuries.

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £20m to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Funding is made from the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA), and 75% of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25% will be spent on collaborative projects with the other gas networks across the whole of the UK.