We Loves The ‘Diff – Supporting Huggard

loves the 'diff and Huggard

We Loves the ‘Diff supporting Huggard

St David’s launches campaign to make a difference to lives in Cardiff

Throughout April and May, St David’s Cardiff has partnered with Welsh homelessness charities and cult brand I Loves The ‘Diff to launch We Loves The ‘Diff, an appeal to support, raise awareness and collect funds for homeless and vulnerable people living in the city.

On each Saturday from 29 April – 27 May, St David’s will release five exclusive limited edition prints, all designed by I Loves The ‘Diff. People can head to the centre to claim one of the prints in return for a minimum donation of £3, and we have been chosen as one of three charities that will receive the proceeds.

The prints will be strictly limited to 1,000 every Saturday, and with a new design release every weekend. From artwork that celebrates literary greats with a Welsh twist, to city landmarks such as the stone animals that guard Cardiff Castle, the prints have been specifically created for the campaign and will not be available anywhere else.

St David’s has also created a GoFundMe page to encourage the local community and businesses of Wales to pay it forward and help make a difference to lives in the capital city. Funds raised will ensure that those less fortunate are able to live safer, happier, more independent lives and to become an integral part of their communities.

Steven Madeley, general manager for St David’s Cardiff said: “The generosity of the South Wales community has already vastly improved the lives of many in Cardiff, our Toy Appeal has previously seen customers come out in force. Homelessness is a real issue in the city and we’re thrilled to extend our partnership with I Loves The ‘Diff to create an appeal that will make a real difference to lives in the community and help three fantastic charities.”

Richard Edwards, Chief Executive of Huggard said: “We have seen a 40% rise in rough sleepers accessing our services in the last year and have responded to this by ensuring that our services are aimed at helping people off the streets rather than just simply helping them to stay there. The support from St David’s and Loves the ‘Diff will help us to provide the help, advice and support to change peoples’ lives for the better and for good.”

To participate, head to one of the two gallery zones located in St David’s Cardiff on your chosen Saturday from 29 April – 27 May, make a charitable donation of minimum £3, and enjoy your print safe in the knowledge that you’ve made a difference to lives in the city.

Head to stdavidscardiff.com/diff for more information, or keep up to date via the St David’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages using #WeLovesTheDiff.

Each Saturday from 29 April – 27 May, an exclusive limited edition I Loves The ‘Diff art print will be released at St David’s Cardiff. Prints are strictly limited to 1,000 copies and aren’t available anywhere else!

To get your hands on one of these exclusive prints all you need to do is:
1. Find out the date that your favourite print is released
2. Head to one of the two gallery zones at St David’s on your chosen print giveaway date. You’ll find them on the lower level near Clogau or watches of Switzerland. Gallery zones are open 11am – 6pm each Saturday
3. Make a minimum charitable donation of £3 to the we loves the diff appeal (please note that no change will be given)
4. Enjoy your print and know that you’ve made a difference to lives in Cardiff
Please remember that all prints are strictly limited to 1,000 copies and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Cardiff: Living on the Streets

Follow this Link to Our 'Springboard' Campaign

Spotlight on Cardiff’s homeless raises questions

A new series of three 30-minute programmes starting tonight on BBC One Wales is likely to generate plenty of interest and raise serious questions about the situation of Cardiff’s homeless at the start of 2017. Cardiff: Living on the Streets begins on Tuesday 31 January at 10.40 p.m. on BBC1 Wales and all three programmes give a powerful, and sometimes hard to watch, insight into the lives and issues faced by people living on the streets in Cardiff.

Rough sleeping and begging on the streets of Cardiff has visibly increased, and this is a huge concern to all of the services trying to engage with homeless people to help and support their move off the streets, as well as to a city that is developing its reputation as a thriving and attractive European capital. 

Richard Edwards, Chief Executive of Huggard said, “Huggard was glad to support Gritty Productions Ltd in the making of these hard-hitting programmes and hopes that they will raise awareness and questions about how Cardiff can best support some of the most excluded and vulnerable individuals in our city.”

Whilst Huggard provides the largest number of emergency beds for rough sleepers in the city, it is not the only service provider, but Huggard is often asked why people are told by homeless people on the streets that they would rather sleep in a doorway than in emergency accommodation provided by Huggard or other providers in Cardiff. The answer to this question is not straightforward and to some extent reflects the social and personal issues that cause homelessness and affect homeless people.

It is often assumed that there must be something wrong with the services of Huggard and other providers, and as an organisation working with and accommodating rough sleepers, and wanting to avoid complacency, this is a question Huggard often asks itself. People are still ‘choosing’ to sleep in doorways rather than access emergency bed spaces and this means that all of the service providers in Cardiff must constantly review and assess their own services to ensure that they are as accessible as possible to vulnerable people on the streets. There is a lot of communication between service providers, particularly around meeting the needs of specific individuals on the streets, and this helps to shape provision. So why is there still a problem?

Poor mental health can often be a huge barrier for homeless people to access support and accommodation. Services working with homeless people in Cardiff are constantly seeking to provide access to mental health support and many organisations, including Huggard, provide mental health first aid training to staff, as well as working closely with Cardiff and the Vale’s mental health Assertive Outreach Team. What else can be done?

In Cardiff, there has been a huge growth in visible street culture activities, including begging and street based substance misuse, and often these two issues go hand in hand. Huggard has seen a huge increase in the use of heroin among the homeless community in Cardiff and we provide support and harm reduction services, but these services are under strain due to the increase in demand and limited funding.

Such addictions are both desperate and expensive and there are some individuals in the city who prioritise their need to generate money on the streets above their need for shelter. This presents a real problem to emergency accommodation services which need to close their doors at a reasonable hour to minimise disturbance and allow those accessing the service to get a night’s sleep.

But if someone is genuinely reliant on begging for their only income, why will they often, quite understandably, create or embellish stories to explain why they can’t or don’t access the services that are there to help them? Richard Edwards explains that “Huggard works regularly with a number of rough sleepers who often tell members of the public that they don’t access our services, for one reason or another, in order to create necessary sympathy and support. What is important is that the public continues to support services that are geared up and experienced in helping people off the streets.”

It is important to note that many rough sleepers do not have a substance misuse issue and never beg. Many rely on established services such as Huggard’s day centre which provides free soup and meals, together with advice and support, the Wallich’s breakfast run, the Salvation Army’s Bus Project and the churches’ evening soup run to meet their needs. In turn, as a charity, Huggard is dependent on funding, financial support and donations in order to provide these frontline services effectively.

Richard Edwards explains, “The life expectancy of someone sleeping rough in the UK is 47, our task is to engage with people and provide them with the support to get them off the streets rather than only providing basic services that meet their immediate needs.”

Huggard would urge everyone to watch Cardiff: Living on the Streets. More info can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04qytm0 

You can donate to Huggard’s work here: www.justgiving.com/huggard


  • In the three months from October to December 2016, Huggard accommodated 268 different people in our emergency overnight accommodation (a 12% increase on 2015)
  • Our day centre supported 804 different people (a 28% rise on 2015), of which 538 had not been accommodated at night by any of Huggard’s projects (a 43% rise on 2015)
  • During this period the day centre ran 197 development activities to build confidence, improve independent living skills and employability. This shows that many people are coming to Huggard and the use of our services is unfortunately growing.
  • In 2016 we generated £1.3m in benefits for people referred to and accessing the day centre and this has enabled many to break their dependence on begging and to engage with accommodation services that require them to be in receipt of Housing Benefit.
  • This is a service that Huggard feels needs to expand to meet the growing and complex needs of those seeking our advice and support.
  • On occasion, Huggard may need to exclude someone from our service due to them presenting a serious risk to other service users or staff. While we try to keep these necessary exclusions to a minimum, and for the shortest period of time, there will occasionally be people who have no alternative but to sleep rough. When this happens Huggard will provide bedding and suitable clothing.
  • In Cardiff, over the summer months, there are 45 emergency bed spaces provided by four organisations, of which Huggard provides 20 spaces.
  • In the winter months of 2016/17, this number increased to 97 bed spaces, of which Huggard provides 40. The others are provided directly by the Council, The Wallich, Cardiff YMCA, the Salvation Army and the churches, who all do a fantastic job.
  • Groucho Marx once said “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”, and of course there are a very small group of entrenched rough sleepers in the city that do not want to either engage in any services or be around other homeless people. Cardiff Council employs an excellent outreach team that works with these entrenched rough sleepers, supporting their welfare and encouraging them towards appropriate services.
  • There are some people begging on the streets of Cardiff who are often assumed to be homeless but have accommodation and these numbers are seen to increase in the city when there are major events on. 
  • In the run-up to Christmas, but not exclusively so, some of the most lucrative times for begging are in the small hours of the morning when office Christmas parties come to an end and people are making their way home from pubs and clubs in the city centre.
  • On a single day in the run-up to Christmas in 2016, Huggard’s day centre, which provides an unparalleled range of services, provided support to 32 rough sleepers who spent the previous night on the street, in addition to the numbers who accessed emergency and hostel accommodation across the city.





Coming back from the streets to make a difference


Helping to change lives

Rachel, 25, spent two years sleeping rough and now works full time to help other people off the streets. At the age of 15, Rachel was unable to stay in her family home and ended up on the streets and living with a serious drug addiction. Suffering with mental health problems and resorting to self-harming, Rachel spent some time in a hostel for homeless people but saw no future for herself. After two years rough sleeping, Rachel suffered severe bladder failure due to her substance misuse problems and spent 9 months in hospital. “This was the time that I was forced to tackle my addictions, but initially this wasn’t through choice”, says Rachel. “I then made a conscious decision to change my life and when I left hospital I was lucky enough to get a place in a hostel and took advantage, for the first time, of the support available from my support worker and the Community Mental Health Team”. Rachel began rebuilding her life and started volunteering and undertaking training at a drug and alcohol service helping people as a peer mentor.

Rachel is now, 7 years after she turned her life around, working for Huggard providing individual support to people using Huggard’s emergency overnight accommodation, many of whom experience poor mental health and substance misuse issues. “I know what it is like to be stuck in a cycle, where you feel unable or unwilling to receive support and I want to help people realise that they not only have an opportunity to move forward but that they have it in themselves to succeed.” Rachel explains, “The pull of street culture activities, such as begging, can often draw people back to the streets, even when they have made good progress away from it. My job is help provide people with a light at the end of the tunnel that outshines the temptations that have reinforced their cycle of homelessness.”

Richard Edwards, Huggard’s Chief Executive says, “We are very fortunate to have someone with Rachel’s experience, compassion and professionalism working with those that need our help. In Rachel’s first week she has helped a young man of 21 who has been discharged from a psychiatric hospital, following a drug induced psychosis, to start accepting support and take up hostel accommodation. He is now looking to move into a specialised young person’s project and is looking at a brighter future. Its empathy and targeted support like this that changes lives.”




“You are the most constant thing in my life”

In a recent article we talked about our day centre, the leading centre for rough sleepers in Wales, engaging with those on the streets and the many achievements that our clients have made. The feedback on this highlighted substance misuse support as being a high priority for rough sleepers within the city. This is something we need to talk more about and we felt it useful to explain the work that we do to help people with substance misuse issues, recognising that it is both vital and often contentious.

“You are the most constant thing in my life, no matter how much s*** I throw at you”. These are the words of Susan (not her real name) who has been on the streets, punctuated by short periods in hostels and prison (mainly for persistent shop lifting), for the last 17 years. Susan found herself on the streets after being sexually abused by a family member and no-one believed her. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a bipolar disorder, Susan started self-harming and turned to drugs to help her cope. Susan admits she has not been easy to work with and struggles with chronic addictions and anger management. Engagement with accommodation provided and support services has often been short lived and regular recalls to prison, often for breach of probation orders, has only added more complexity to Susan’s life.

Throughout this period Huggard’s support to Susan has been a constant. Taking opportunities to engage, provide harm reduction advice, accompanying Susan to hospital, the GP, probation appointments, pharmacies etc. Susan can’t cope with waiting rooms, so we helped develop strategies that can help including rehearsing appointments beforehand and even taking a selection of her favourite books with us to help her manage her frustrations. Whenever Susan gained accommodation elsewhere, we maintained contact, as we knew that it may be very short term. Continuity and building trust had to be important.

We spoke at length with Susan about the abuse she had suffered and how this, and the fact she was never believed, had impacted on her life. Susan decided to go to the police. The CPS brought charges and the Crown Court sentenced Susan’s abuser to a prison sentence. This has gone some way to helping Susan move forward and we now have negotiated a regime with the probation service that better meets Susan’s needs and have been able to secure a maintenance prescription for methadone which has significantly reduced her dependence on heroin. Susan is now residing in an accommodation and support project run by an excellent partner agency that is providing fantastic help to her and we shall continue to ensure that we are always there to help her when and if she needs us.

We don’t have all the answers and Huggard can’t work alone. No organisation helping people with complex needs can. Working together we can have a really positive impact on peoples’ lives. We are proud to be involved with many partners working with the Substance Misuse Area Planning Board and, in relation to substance misuse, we are on the Cardiff & Vale Harm Reduction and Recovery Group, Psychoactive Substances Task and Finish Group, National Steering Group for Enhanced Harm Reduction Centres and the National Implementation Board for Drug Poisoning Prevention as well as a multi-agency group to seek to address the issues related to locally discarded needles, as well as others. Sharing expertise and developing good practice is vital if we are to respond to the changing needs and dynamics of substance misuse.

In the month of August, Huggard’s substance misuse service provided individual support to 54 people like Susan. We helped 8 people to engage with treatment services. We undertook 738 needle exchanges with harm reduction advice. We had 8 new people register on our needle exchange database which is a positive drop in new people from previous months. We support people to reduce the risks to themselves and others, reducing the transmission of blood borne viruses and helping to manage, and get treatment for, what can often be life threatening infections. We provide a monthly sexual health clinic and work closely with the health service including the nurses for the homeless, GP services and the Hospital’s emergency department. We are the main assessment and referral service for Pabrinex treatment for long term alcohol users in Cardiff. We collect and safely dispose of a large volume of used drug paraphernalia. We also have our own in-house team of First Responders, trained and supported by the Welsh Ambulance Service. We are trained in advanced First Aid and resuscitation techniques. In August we attended 5 opiate overdoses and administered naloxone, the antidote to opiate poisoning, interventions that can save lives. We are never complacent.

This work, linked to a centre providing a wide range of engaging services, is vital. It is an important part of a wider programme of substance misuse services within the city. We need this if we are to maintain engagement and seek opportunities to move people, with chaotic lives, forwards and toward treatment services while minimising the harm they can cause to themselves and others.

We need to get injecting off the streets and we really need to talk more about how we can achieve this. Substance misuse creates victims and isn’t something that anyone finds acceptable. It cant simply be swept away and it won’t disappear just because we want it to.


Free Food Available to the Homeless

Here’s a list of where free food is available for the homeless and vulnerable within Cardiff

Here’s a list of where free food is available for the homeless and vulnerable within Cardiff. Please feel free to comment on any incorrect information, add details or point out any omissions. Thank you.


8.30 till 7.30pm – The Huggard Centre – Provides free soup (home-made) and bread to anyone who calls in 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. Huggard offers free meals on many days of the week (including weekends) which are cooked by volunteers and served late afternoon. Huggard also provides home cooked meals and hot/cold drinks at greatly subsidised (a typical meal is £1.50) prices and ‘give-aways’ on a (first come first served) regular basis through food stuffs nearing their sell-by-date. If a homeless person has no income we may be able to provide free food vouchers. A visit to our centre and a chat to our kitchen staff will keep you in touch with what’s on offer.

The Morning Breakfast Run – provided by The Wallich, 7.30am – Central Station, car park behind Burger King, 8am – Top (where it meets Queens Street) of St. Johns Street, the Hayes, 8.30am – Museum steps.

8pm till 9pm – Paradise Run behind M & S.


10am till 12noon – Conway Road Methodist Church in Canton.
6.30pm till 8pm – Salvation Army, Purple Bus opposite Museum.
5.30pm till 7.30 pm – The Tavs Centre, Tavistock Road, Roath.
11pm till 12 Midnight – Private run by Hamish, who drives around.

6.30pm till 8pm – Salvation Army, Purple Bus opposite Museum.
9pm till 10pm – Private run by Coffee4Craig, Museum steps.

6.30pm till 8pm – Salvation Army, Purple Bus opposite Museum.
11pm – Private run by Margaret Ashford, Cyncoed Methodist Church, who drives around.

11am – Calvary Baptist Church, Cowbridge Rd East.
6.30pm till 8.30pm – Salvation Army, Purple Bus opposite Museum.
12 Midnight – Private run by Andy Webb, who drives around.

11am – Brunch – The Tavs Centre, Tavistock Road, Roath.
12 Noon till 3.30pm – Food not Bombs, Vegan food outside Central Market.
6.30 till 8.30pm – Salvation Army, Purple Bus opposite Museum.

12 Noon – Rainbow of Hope, Broadway, off Newport Road.
12 Noon – St Peters Youth Hall, Bedford St, off City Road.
3pm – Amerpreet Singh Khalsa, Langer Seva society, the Queen Street end of Newport Road, outside Greggs and Coffee#1. Any leftovers are then taken around those who sleep rough on the streets, but are reluctant to give up their spots.
6.30pm – The City Temple, Cowbridge Rd East.

3pm till 4pm – The City Tabernacle on the Hayes.
5.30pm till 7pm – The Tavs Centre, Tavistock Road, Roath.
6.30pm till 8.30pm – Salvation Army, Purple Bus opposite Museum.


11am – 1st, 3rd and 4th Saturday of every month, The Saturday Service: ‘Christian worship with a hot meal’, Dewi Sant, St Andrews Crescent.
12 till 2.00pm (meal served at 12:30pm) – 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, Quaker House, Charles Street.
10.00am till 3.00pm, Monday to Friday – The Real Junk Food Project, Embassy Cafe, Cathays Youth & Community Centre – Pay what you can afford.





Huggard Instagram Page

Clothes Being Sorted by Volunteers for Ebay - Eggs are Extra


HUGGARD NOW HAS A PRESENCE ON (Top Left Camera Icon) INSTAGRAM. It’s purely related to Ebay / Social Enterprise at the moment, but shows exactly what it takes ‘in the background’ to make this initiative happen. We couldn’t do this work without the help of our volunteer students. A huge thank you xx

The images are of sorting and packing the items of clothing and the packaged product.

Please keep on supporting this social enterprise. Thank you





Streetlink is Now Active In Wales!


Temperatures across the country are plummeting, with some areas getting as cold as -15C.

This may be a bit unpleasant for most of us, but it’s a particularly terrible time of year for the 3,000 or so homeless people sleeping rough across the country.

With temperatures this low, some of them will likely freeze to death in the streets.

You might have seen a post being circulated on social media with the email address of Mungo’s to allow people to report the location of people sleeping rough this winter.

While it’s well-meaning, the details are out of date.

Here’s what you can actually do to help.

A St Mungos employee has circulated the following information for anyone concerned about someone sleeping rough.

First step, contact StreetLink

StreetLink is a national organisation, so you can contact them about homeless people anywhere in the UK.

You can find them at streetlink.org.uk, call the 24 hour hotline on 0300 5000914, or even download the StreetLink app on smart phones.

Make a referral using the online form

If you’re using the website or the app, there is an online form you can fill in to let StreetLink know where someone is sleeping rough

Give them as much information as possible

In order to make a referral, they need a rough sleeping site and, if possible, a time.

In his email, St Mungos employee Jon explains: ‘For example “I have seen them sleeping at… at this time…”‘

‘Our outreach teams go out all year round from around 10pm to 7am,’ he adds. ‘They are few and so an accurate sleeping site is imperative.

‘Also, services are dependant on the person being a genuine rough sleeper, so they need to be found sleeping on the street.’





Coats That Turn Into Sleeping Bags!!

A Coat that Turns Into a Sleeping Bag


Detroit-based non-profit that educates and employs homeless women to create coats that transform into sleeping bags, which are then given to the homeless.

The Empowerment Plan employs and trains homeless women to manufacture a garment that serves as both a coat and a sleeping bag. These coats are then distributed back to homeless individuals within the Detroit community and across the nation, at no cost to them.

We currently employ 18 inspiring women as full-time seamstresses. Through training and steady employment these women are able to elevate themselves from the cycle of poverty. Within the first few months of working with the program, we actively help these women and their families move off the streets or out of shelters by finding them secure, furnished housing. These women are empowering themselves with the confidence and skills necessary for a more sustainable, financially stable, and healthier life.

The Empowerment Plan has a dual mission as we not only run and function like a garment business making warm, durable coats for the homeless, but we also help our employees to advance themselves professionally, economically, and educationally through learning and effectively utilizing a unique trade skill.

More Information: The Empowerment Plan