Welsh Minister celebrates 'journeys of hope' at The Haven

published on 10 May 2023

Julie James, Welsh Minister for Climate Change, with a responsibility for homelessness and housing advice, recently visited Neath Salvation Army’s community drop-in centre, The Haven.

After meeting a number of local residents at The Haven, shared: “It’s been really lovely to visit the Haven today so see all of the services that can be provided to people here in Neath. It was great to meet so many service users and hear about their journeys of hope.”

“They have gone from people who found themselves without a home to people who now have accommodation and access to all the services required to keep things that way. The Haven provides all the services you can think of to help people with that journey and we are very pleased that the Welsh Government, working with the local authority, is able to support projects like this across Wales.”

Welsh Minister Julie James, Salvation Army Officer Major Neil Duquemin and and Project Development Manager Christina Davies stand in a line. Four other individuals stand in a line nearby. Behind everyone is Neath Salvation Army's drop-in centre, The Haven
'The Haven, an open community of honesty and hope'

The centre officially opened in November 2021 and now provides drop-in services for people in need. These services come from multi-agency support and include housing advice, counselling services, assistance with benefits and medical care.

The Welsh Government supports the Haven through its Housing Support Grant to the local authority, which provides funds for a Programme Development Manager to deliver training courses that help people to gain greater confidence and independence, including cookery, budgeting and managing stress.

Julie James, Welsh Minister for Climate Change speaks with  Major Neil Duquemin from Neath Salvation Army at The Haven drop-in centre.
Welsh Minister Julie James speaks with Major Neil Duquemin from Neath Salvation Army at The Haven

Major Neil Duquemin from Neath Salvation Army said: “From its inception during the worst Covid months in 2020 to the flourishing drop-in service that it is today, it was a pleasure to be able to show the Minister how The Salvation Army and our partners are transforming the lives of many of Neath’s most vulnerable people.

“The Salvation Army has a rich history of opening its doors throughout Wales, offering support and advice to the people most in need. The extra funding we receive for projects like The Haven enables us to bring in the specialist staff and structure to deliver the best outcomes for our clients and for the whole community. This place is literally helping to save lives.”

The Haven hosts a multi-agency day on a Wednesday where it sees DWP, Housing Options and various other agencies coming together in one building to meet clients on a booked or drop-in basis. The café is open Monday to Friday and courses can be accessed through the week in group and one-to-one settings.

Shaun Hughes, who has benefitted from the training offered by The Haven said: "The Haven is a safe and welcoming environment. The courses have helped me gain a better understanding of myself and I have gained a lot of confidence in many aspects of my life." Similarly, Courtney Williams, another member of the local community, shared: "The Haven has helped me a lot with managing my stress and the courses are so helpful towards daily life. I look forward to every week at The Haven."

Officer speaking to a man in one of our lifehouses

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