Homeless people sleeping rough in Pontypridd received a hot meal, clothes and winter supplies in an initiative organised by the Taff Ely Primary Care Cluster.
Local organisations also rallied round to offer advice to those on the streets at the first event of its kind held at St Catherine’s Church in the town.
The effort to reach out to those homeless people in the area was the idea of Moira Moore and Sarah Moore, practice managers at the Ashgrove and Parc Canol medical centres (pictured).
The aim was to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for help and advice, including agencies such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Safe, Barod, the Job Centre, Mind, Libraries and Hapi Project.
An initial meeting with Mandy Hayden Hall at St Catherine’s set about the task of sourcing donations for the warm meal, including a gift voucher and supplies from Sainsbury’s in Pontypridd, while Hapi helped find qualified people to cook the breakfast.
Pontypridd Bid Team donated £100 and purchased toiletries while the Cluster, provided funding to purchase things like holdalls, flasks, travel mugs, leggings, underwear and socks.
Sarah Moore said: “We had donations across all the cluster practices, and the Library also donated books.
“St Catherine provided the use of their church and kitchen to host the event and we advertised it using posters and asking the various organisations involved to spread the word.”
On the day, local police community officers went around town in the morning to encourage some of the homeless to attend the event.
Moira Moore added: “We reached all the rough sleepers in Pontypridd on the day – around eight.
“One elderly gentleman was in a very bad way and was taken off for a medical assessment.
“Another young lady was found a bed in a hostel. She had been sleeping rough the previous night with no sleeping bag.”
Those in need went away with a holdall with whatever provisions they needed.
“We also learnt quite a lot about what worked and what we could change,” Moira said.
“The agencies which attended were very pleased to be there and gained a lot from networking with each other as well as giving practical advice and help to those who attended.
“They are all keen to continue to be involved. St Catherine’s Church was ‘over the moon’ with the event.
“It was a response to an increasing number of homeless in general and being a town centre practice in Pontypridd I also saw first-hand the challenges this vulnerable group faced,” Moira said.
“Our initial thoughts are that we will hold one of these events each month during the winter period as the need is clearly there.
“All who attended were very appreciative of what we were doing.”
The cluster will also be aiming to extend the reach of the event in future to the hidden homeless who are sofa surfing in the area.