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COVID-19 Update: 20th May

In today's COVID-19 update from Cardiff Council: paving the way to sustained and positive change for rough sleepers; carers benefit from access to counselling and wellbeing resources; trainee chef team serve up meals for vulnerable people;and Bute Park's plants donation to community groups makes it onto national TV.


Rapid response paves way to sustained and positive change

The rapid response of Cardiff Council and its homeless services partners to safeguarding vulnerable individuals on the streets during the COVID-19 outbreak has begun to reap significant benefits.

The number of people sleeping rough in the city has dropped to single figures while more and more clients have been receptive to positive interventions from services, particularly substance misuse services, that can help get their lives back on track.

More than 140 clients have been housed in the two hotels acquired by the Council in March to ensure people living inemergency accommodation and those on the streets were protected and cared for during the pandemic and could self-isolate effectively.

The shipping container homes the council has developed as temporary accommodation for families have been used as isolation units for any homeless individuals displaying coronavirus symptoms, while substance misuse services have been adapted quickly to meet clients' needs during the pandemic.

Support has included regular nurse-led clinics at the hotels and existing hostels, access to rapid prescribing services and the use of the new and improved drug substitute, Buvidal.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "There's no doubt the Coronavirus outbreak presented our services with tough challenges and we needed to move very fast to help people off the streets into safe, self-contained accommodation. Our teams pulled out all the stops and are doing a tremendous job throughout this difficult time.

"Only five very entrenched rough sleepers remain on the streets now, and our outreach team will continue to work with these individuals, but when you consider that only a few months ago the figure was in the 80s, this is a huge achievement and one that must be sustained into the future.

"The lockdown period has created a unique set of circumstances and provided us with a real opportunity to engage with clients who up until now have been very hard to reach and resistant to offers of help.

"The lack of begging opportunities in the city centre has meant clients cannot afford to buy drugs or alcohol and have responded more positively to the support available to assist them off the streets for good.  Many more people have begun treatment programmes because they have been unable to fund the harmful addictions that have prevented them from coming off the streets in the past.

"I know that many concerned people think that they are helping if they give to someone begging, however in most cases this money will only help that person to maintain a harmful lifestyle.  Cardiff's homeless partnership is doing amazing work to help people transform their lives and the public can help with this work by giving to one of our partner charities or to Give Differently, rather than to those begging on the street.

"We've come a long way in a short time and want to ensure that this change continues by carrying on working with individuals to prevent a return to the streets, to begging and to substance abuse once current measures are lifted."

The Council has been reviewing homelessness services for single people, particularly those with very complex needs, for a number of months and has been learning from best practice in the UK and abroad to develop a range of future accommodation and support options.

Cllr Thorne added: "Our longer term planning was already underway before the current health emergency, but we can build on the success over the past few months to make a real change for the better in people's lives.

"There's been a radical shift in the uptake of services that can change people's lives and these past few weeks have demonstrated the success that can be achieved in tackling homelessness if the right accommodation and support is available.

"There can be no going back. We must focus on recovery and maintaining the significant progress made over this period."

Find out about how you can support charities working with homeless individuals here:


Carers given access to counselling and wellbeing resources

To support the emotional and mental wellbeing of key workers in the care sector across Cardiff, the Council has extended access to Care First, the counselling service for staff directly employed by the authority, to the city's care workforce.

Around 3,500 people are employed in the sector in the city's 21 nursing and 54 residential homes and 100 supported living accommodation schemes and the Council recognises the importance of looking after the wellbeing of everyone who works in this sector throughout these difficult days.

Care First is a 24/7 service, offering a full Employee Assistance Programme, which includes counselling, and a range of wellbeing support services.


Trainee chef team serve up meals for vulnerable people

Young trainee chefs at Cardiff Council's Youth Foods, a joint initiative with the GMB union to provide catering and food service training to young people not in education, employment or training, have provided more than11,500 hot meals and 12,000 sandwich and cake packs to vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis.

The 10-strong team, which is based at County Hall, have ensured clients at the extra emergency accommodation for homeless individuals in the city, as well as the elderly in the city, have been well-fed throughout the crisis by preparing the nutritious food, which is then delivered by the Council's Meals on Wheels team.


Bute Park's plants donation featured on national TV

Our team at Bute Park donated 3,000 plants to the community - and the project featured on BBC1 last night.

The plants were destined to go to waste due to #COVID-19 but with the help of community growing groups, they've been distributed across the city.

Click here to watch (18m55s):