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.”




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, 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.’





Staff of Henry Shein Get Their Teeth Into ‘Being Angels For a Day’


A big thank you to Natasha, Jo, Catherine, Jessica, Louise and Mark from Henry Shein Minerva Dental Ltd, Cardiff for earning their wings being ‘Angels for a Day’.

Henry Schein is a worldwide distributor of medical, dental and veterinary supplies including vaccines, pharmaceutical products and financial services.

Team Henry Shein Being Angels for a Day

They’re really looking forward to coming back to help Huggard again soon.

Once again thank you from all the Staff, Volunteers, friends and Clients at Huggard xx



For Further Information on ‘Being an Angel for a Day’, follow this link





Locking People Up is not the Key to Solving Homelessness


Left, Richard Edwards of the Huggard Homeless Centre. Right top, Cardiff prison and beneath, Colin Capp

Huggard Centre boss Richard Edwards calls for support for those on the streets after the sentencing of Colin Capp for the murder of Darren Thomas

The head of a homelessness shelter says beggars need help rather than punishment after a man was killed in jail while serving time for pleading for handouts in Cardiff.

Head of the Huggard homelessness centre Richard Edwards made the comments in the wake of Colin Capp’s life sentence for murdering Darren Thomas.

Capp used a ballpoint pen to stab Thomas in the neck 100 times while he slept in their cell in Cardiff Prison in March 2014.
Is jail appropriate for beggars?

Thomas, 45, was inside for begging – he had breached an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) preventing him going into Cardiff city centre to plead for handouts.

Edwards said: “I don’t feel it’s appropriate (to jail the homeless). I think we need to be looking first at the levels of support we can offer people who are engaging in street culture activity.”

Before Thomas was earlier jailed in 2011 a court hearing was told he would approach people “at random”. But police said he targeted lone women on their way to work in the morning, who felt intimidated.

He had stayed at Cardiff’s Huggard shelter for the homeless between May and August of 2012.

Darren Thomas, 45 a prisoner who was discovered unconscious by guards at Cardiff prison and was declared dead 35 minutes later.
Prisoner Darren Thomas, 45, was found dead in his cell on March 6 last year

Edwards, who said using ASBOs against beggars can be appropriate provided help is also being offered, added: “While I’m aware that Darren was engaging in quite aggressive begging activities it’s unfortunate that in Darren’s case it had to result in imprisonment.”

Thomas had just started a 12-week sentence at the prison when he was attacked by Capp.

The 23-year-old killer, from Scotland, had suggested he was suffering paranoid schizophrenia, but a psychiatrist said he had a personality disorder and knew what he was doing.

Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens said Britain’s under-pressure prison system should be reserved for dangerous offenders.

Last year the Ministry of Justice was forced into trying to re-employ more than 2,000 prison officers who had recently taken voluntary redundancy.
‘Prison won’t help’

The Labour MP said: “Prison is not the sort of place that is going to help people like Darren. If he had been a threat to the public that may have been a reason for giving him a custodial sentence.

“He wasn’t safe out on the streets and clearly wasn’t safe inside prison.”

Last year following Thomas’ murder Shelter Cymru said jailing the destitute – who need help and often have mental health problems – is “expensive” and “pointless”.

Cardiff Retail Partnership, which represents the city’s businesses, has in the past lobbied police to clear the streets of beggars.

Before the Olympic Games in 2012, they urged police to use the then 188-year-old Vagrancy Act to rid the city’s streets of homeless people.

At the time, South Wales Police said dealing with the homeless was a priority because it was of concern to businesses and residents.
‘Remarkably callous’

They said a “number” of ASBOs had been placed on beggars – insisting they were used when all other attempts to help had failed.

But Shelter Cymru called the campaign “remarkably callous” and suggested it treated the homeless like “inconvenient rubbish to be cleared away”.

The poor were similarly targeted in Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008), before those cities hosted the Olympics.

In 2007, the UN-funded Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) concluded the Olympics, having evicted more then two million people over twenty years, were one of the top causes of displacement and house price inflation in the world.

The report showed the evictions disproportionately affect the homeless, the poor and ethnic minorities.

Following Capp’s conviction, Thomas’s family issued a statement saying he died in a place where he should have been safe.

A Stop on Clothes Donations

Huggard Xmas Party 2016



Due to a fantastic response to our Call-Outs and the continued generosity of individuals and groups supporting Huggard – we reluctantly need to put the breaks on clothing donations and we are sorry for any inconvenience this causes you.

Our basement storage area is full to overflowing. Until groups of student volunteers can sort through and categorise these gifts we have no space left.



Since we opened up our day centre as a secondary (emergency overnight stay) EOS unit – doubling our nightly intake to as many as 40+, the above consumables have produced a huge nightly demand that is always difficult to fullfil.

Thank you for all of your much appreciated support, have a great Xmas and New Year from all Staff, Volunteers and Clients of Huggard XX

Pictures: A Selection taken at Huggard’s 2014 Xmas Day.