Two Cardiff charity workers braved Storm Emma’s sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions last Thursday night to help rough sleepers in the city centre keep safe and warm. Ben Ramsay and Lukasz Kuziow work for The Salvation Army’s Bus Project outreach service which provides services to support people who are experiencing homelessness in Cardiff.
But last Thursday night, the treacherous weather conditions meant it was impossible to drive the Bus Project’s specially-equipped support vehicle from its base in Splott. Undaunted, Ben and Lukasz walked into the city centre through the snow and biting wind to reach people who needed their help during the severe weather warning.
The plucky pair found 18 people who needed their advice and they managed to find eight people a warm bed for the weekend.
When asked about their mission, Ben said: “It was only a few hours for us but it would have been the whole night for those people who we referred into emergency accommodation. People were thankful we were out but also not always surprised which I took as a compliment for the service we provide that we were expected no matter what the weather conditions and I was proud to live up to their expectations.”
Lukasz Kuziow commented: “We wanted to make sure that the service continued when the adverse weather happened. I was concerned about all the rough sleepers during those potentially life-threatening conditions. We got eight people into emergency accommodation for the weekend and I felt particularly relieved when I managed to find accommodation for a 25-year-old woman who was wearing a pair of trainers and no coat.”
Laura Carey who is service manager for The Salvation Army’s homelessness outreach services in Cardiff said: “I’m very proud of Ben and Lukasz – what they did on Thursday night was a fantastic example of their ‘can-do’ attitudes and their determination to do their best for people who we support through the Bus Project in Cardiff.
“When everyone else was heading for shelter, Ben and Lukasz put on their warm coats, loaded up their backpacks and went straight into the middle of the storm determined to find people and bring them inside to the safe and warm.
“The Bus Project operates five nights a week in Cardiff city centre and it’s thanks to the dedication of staff members such as Ben and Lukasz and our amazing army of volunteers that we are able to provide this service all year round.”
In Cardiff, The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Services Unit runs The Bus Project, the Tŷ Gobaith Lifehouse on Bute Street and the Northlands Lifehouse on North Road.
The Crichton House Outreach Service on Vale Road in Cardiff is also run by The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Services Unit.
The Welsh Government funds The Bus Project.