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TOKIO MARINE HCC FUNDS SHOWER FOR BRIDGEND ROUGH SLEEPERS  - 02 Oct 2019

TOKIO MARINE HCC FUNDS SHOWER FOR BRIDGEND ROUGH SLEEPERS - 02 Oct 2019

A specialty insurance group, Tokio Marine HCC, has made a sizable donation to build a brand-new wet room for people who use the services of Wales’s leading homelessness and rough sleeping charity, The Wallich, in Bridgend.

Tokio Marine HCC (TMHCC) has donated a total of £10,000 to The Wallich, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, to invest in alleviating homelessness.

The Wallich supported 72 people sleeping rough in Bridgend last quarter (March – June 2019), a 23% increase on the number of people they supported in the same quarter last year.

Something as simple as a shower is often inaccessible for people living on the streets. The Wallich will use part of the donation to upgrade the shower services at their dedicated drop-in centre, which can be accessed by anyone experiencing homelessness who requires signposting, housing, health or welfare advice or help making appointments.

For many people, The Wallich centre is a constant and reliable feature, of their sometimes chaotic lives.

The rest of the £10,000 will go towards funding emergency accommodation.

Mike Walmsley, corporate fundraising manager at The Wallich, said,

“Tokio Marine HCC has trusted us to decide where best to put their generous donation. That’s why we’ve decided to upgrade the basic shower we have in Bridgend to a full wet room, where we hope people who are street homeless can enjoy the dignity of a good quality shower, with privacy and a more positive headspace to take on the challenges that face them ahead.”

Ian Rowles, managing director at TMHCC Bridgend, said,

“As part of Tokio Marine HCC’s corporate social responsibility programme, the staff at Bridgend office recognised the growing number of homeless people in south Wales and voted to support The Wallich as our chosen local charity for 2019.

It is with great pleasure that we have been able to provide our donation, knowing the positive impact it will make to those in need, in our own community.”

The Wallich operates across Wales but offers a range of services for people experiencing homelessness or are vulnerably housed in Bridgend.

Their Rough Sleepers’ Intervention Team goes out every morning to provide hot drinks, food, provisions and vital advice for people sleeping on the streets of Bridgend; supporting an average of 16 people rough sleeping per day.

As well as providing vital outreach, The Wallich has several hostels in Bridgend, many are specific to certain needs such as young people’s accommodation and family hostels.

The team also helps people struggling to get into the private rented sector through its bond board and specialist housing-related support.

HOMELESS PEOPLE IN BIN BAGS SPOTTED AROUND CARDIFF FOR ART STUNT  - 29 NOV 2019

HOMELESS PEOPLE IN BIN BAGS SPOTTED AROUND CARDIFF FOR ART STUNT - 29 NOV 2019

Homelessness and rough sleeping charity The Wallich, artist Maxwell Rushton and the Wales Millennium Centre have commissioned a collection of sculptures in which casts of previously homeless people were placed around the city centre in bin bags.

In response to rising homelessness in Wales, the casts were placed around Cardiff over four days to gauge public consciousness of people on the streets.

Reactions were filmed and included concern and worry for people inside the bags, in some cases a distain and assault of the sculptures but, mostly, the reaction was blind indifference.

One concerned member of the public who spotted a sculpture outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay said,

“I was just concerned to be honest. It’s not something you see every day. I thought maybe we should go and report it.

I kind of thought someone was trying to commit suicide; which is really weird, but I didn’t want to go home and find out later that something had happened.

I was going to go to security and say, ‘Just so you know there’s a guy out there covered in a black bag.’”

To create the casts, four participants of Behind The Label, a WMC and TVO theatre show written and performed by people who have experienced homelessness sat for artist, Rushton.

Their experience of sitting in Jesmonite AC100 Water Based Casting Resin for 30 minutes pushed them to revisit feelings of isolation and loneliness were also documented.

If you missed the sculptures in and around Cardiff, the exhibition, called Chrysalis, will be on display with a series of videos about the sculptures, their subjects and the public reaction at the Wales Millennium Centre on Wednesday 27 November.

Maxwell Rushton, creator of Chrysalis, explained how he came up with the idea,

“When I walked out of a shop and I tipped over a bin bag, I turned around and apologised because I thought it was a homeless person.”

Markus, who is part on the Behind The Label performance and was a sculpture mould, said,

“To stand back and look at the sculpture, it’s a smack in the face because you know it’s you.

It makes you feel vulnerable and seeing people’s reactions to it as well, you can see it’s powerful.

You’re forced to confront yourself and that’s the same with Behind The Label; you’re put in a position where you’re exposing yourself – you’re raw, sharing your story.

I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing people’s reactions because I don’t think there’s anything else like that out there.”

Kev, who also sat for Rushton, said,

“It kind of brought back the feeling of being lonely when I was on the streets.”

According to Welsh Government statistics, rough sleeping in Wales has increased 45% since 2015.

The Wallich has declared rough sleeping a national emergency and anyone who visits the WMC during Chrysalis or Behind The Label will have access to a guide which advises the public on what to do to help people rough sleeping.