We must urge the Welsh Government to protect the Supporting People programme so the most vulnerable people in society have a chance to live safely and independently, explains Rebecca Goodhand.
Ashley has been in and out of prison since he was a teenager. With 50 convictions on his record, many would assume he is set for a life of jail sentences just like his dad and grandfather before him.
However when his son, Kadius, was born ten months ago, Ashley decided to break the criminal pattern and turn his life around. With support from Cadwyn Housing Association, he secured a room for his small family at Nightingale House, a 26 room hostel in Cardiff that provides a temporary and secure home for families.
Support workers at Nightingale House have helped Ashley to overcome his past and move forward into a crime-free life. Instead of doing illegal acts, he now spends his days learning new skills and supporting residents, an activity that has inspired him to consider a future in peer-mentoring.
Nightingale House is fully funded by Supporting People, a programme that provides housing related support to over 60,000 vulnerable people living in Wales. Thanks to the fund, people including families fleeing domestic abuse, those with mental health issues, learning disabilities and substance misuse problems can avoid homelessness and live independently in their communities.
In the past year Nightingale House has supported 91 families like Ashley’s. Out of those, 49 moved into their own homes, eight have returned home and six have been transferred to other projects. A third of those have also been supported into employment and education.
Providing a safe and secure home for people helps to prevent domestic abuse, reduces re-offending and substance misuse. It supports often marginalised people to re-access education, volunteering, training and work opportunities, even through their own social enterprises.
Every £1 invested in Supporting People, delivers £2.30 of savings to other sectors such as housing, health, social care and community safety services.
This is why on today’s Day of Action, we are calling for the Welsh Government to protect Supporting People in the 2018/2019 budget.
Without the fund vulnerable people – ranging from children to the elderly- will be negatively impacted. They will have limited access to the housing related services and care that has helped them improve their lives immeasurably.
Ashley has admitted he’d be back in jail if it wasn’t for Nightingale House. His story is just one example of where a life has been transformed thanks to the Supporting People programme.
We hope you will join us in calling for Supporting People to be protected today, by joining our ‘Let’s Keep On Supporting People’ campaign. To download our support pack, please click here.