Rebecca Garrard received £50 worth of vouchers from our ‘Long Service Awards’ scheme a few months back, and when I caught up with her recently she told me that she had spent her vouchers on providing essentials to the local homeless people. I think this is commendable, and she should be recognised for her good deeds hence I am dedicating my blog to her this week.
Rebecca has been working within social care for most of her life. Previously she worked in an institution for people with mental health issues, she had been working there for some time and felt she needed some time out and started working in a completely different sector, travel and retail. Rebecca had a friend working as a manager at CMG who asked if she would be interested in helping at the service for six months. She did and has now been with CMG ever since, 10 years to be precise!
Rebecca has always been a keen advocate for the rights and welfare of the homeless. This started through her husband as he has counselled many people battling with drugs and alcohol addictions. Rebecca has now been helping the homeless for 15 years.
In the past Rebecca volunteered at the soup kitchen, and spent time listening to people, mentoring them and giving advice on what they should do next. Now, Rebecca supports individual people she has built rapport with. She told me about one gentleman that lives on the street near her house, who used to be in paid employment and rented accommodation and has ended up on the street because of the system not due to an addiction. He was in full time paid employment when the companies’ circumstance changed. His contract was changed to part time. This meant he didn’t have enough finance to cover his rent, he then applied for benefits. He was put on a waiting list and in this time his landlord terminated the contract, forcing him to move onto the street as he had no family or friends to stay with. He has now been on the street for 12 months and can’t claim for benefits as he doesn’t have an address. He is very unlikely to get much help from the council as he is deemed as low priority being a 23 year old male. Recently, he left his sleeping bag and the only clothes he owns in a bag which were then disposed of by the council. When Rebecca heard about this she bought (with her CMG employee of the month vouchers) him a new sleeping bag and clothes and two further sleeping bags and donated them to the St Trinity Church who help the homeless.
Rebecca Garrad, ALLT Y CHAM FARM HOUSE
“The rate of homelessness has increased by 50.9% in Swansea, these are really worrying figures that need to be addressed. The Government policy needs to be changed, but in the meantime we can all do a bit to help. Donate food and old clothes to homeless shelters/charities, if you can spend a little time talking and listening to the homeless, everyone appreciates a friendly face and conversation.”
We really have some truly inspirational people within CMG, and I’m proud to have been able to share this story with you. We should all think how we can help people that are less fortunate than ourselves, even if it is just lending an ear for a few minutes.