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Rising to the prevention challenge

Projects working to improve the lives of vulnerable people in Wales have been honoured at the 2016 Promoting Independence Awards.

Organised by Cymorth Cymru, this is the 10th year of awards that hail the success of organisations working with maginalised and at risk people in Wales as well as challenging stereotypes and recognising the inspirational achievements of those people.

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 aimed to change the ways in which Wales tackles homelessness through increasing the focus on prevention, improving access to the private rented sector and aiming to ensure every citizen has a safe and comfortable place to live. The winners of this year’s awards have shown that despite a challenging financial environment, they are vital partners in delivering these aims and improving lives.

Among the winners announced on Friday night were:

  • The Showcase Award for Homelessness Prevention was awarded to Prison Link Cymru – a Gwalia initiative. Championing one of the Welsh Government’s core strategies to prevent homelessness among marginalised groups and reduce re-offending, the project provides targeted support for people who are at risk of losing their home while in prison. The initiative has changed the way it works with prisoners in line with the new government policy and demonstrated impressive achievements during 2015/16, preventing homelessness for 944 out of the 1,066 people referred to the service.
  • The Employment, Training and Skills Award was presented to Symud Ymlaen-Moving Forward – a project run by Llamau Some of the most vulnerable young people in Wales have been supported by this project. Set up in 2013 to develop skills to help young people find work, over two thirds of those who completed the project’s placements either continued on to employment or returned to education. The Moving Forward Project has shown that supporting young people in Wales who have experienced the care or criminal justice system to gain skills and confidence can bring impressive results.
  • The Involvement and Engagement Award was presented to Take Notice – a Shelter Cymru project. The skills of people in need of support have been harnessed by this project, with a clear impact on the way support is being delivered and policy is being implemented. Take Notice was recognised for listening to the expertise of people who have experienced homelessness. The project has suggested engaging ways to work with people across Wales. This method of working has shown how forming a relationship between organisations and the people supported by them can bring positive change in the way services are delivered.

Katie Dalton, interim director of Cymorth Cymru, said:

‘Despite the challenging financial climate, housing and homelessness organisations have yet again stepped up to the mark and continued to deliver high quality, life changing support to vulnerable people across the nation. The sector has worked incredibly hard and proved itself to be a key partner in preventing homelessness in line with the Housing (Wales) Act, which is already having a positive impact and attracting attention and praise from other parts of the UK. We are looking forward to celebrating and showcasing the achievements of people that make a huge difference to people’s lives.’

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