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John Puzey to retire from Shelter Cymru

John Puzey will stand down as the director of Shelter Cymru this Autumn after over 30 years at the helm of Wales’ leading independent housing and homelessness charity.

Among tributes paid to him, First Minister Mark Drakeford said he had been ‘a tireless campaigner’ for the right to decent housing who had helped to make Shelter Cymru ‘a hugely respected and highly effective organisation’.

After setting up a successful advice agency in Hull, John came to what was then Welsh Housing Aid with a vision to ensure that everyone in Wales would have access to housing advice.  From early beginnings in the 80s with advice surgeries in five local authority areas, John will leave Shelter Cymru providing all-Wales coverage of  housing advice, advising and supporting some 20,000 people a year.

Shelter Cymru said there had been significant campaign victories won over the years, victories achieved with the hard work of all its staff, volunteers and supporters, that had brought important improvements to homeless and badly housed people in Wales. John was at the forefront of these campaigns, driving us on to make sure that we worked with and for people.

Shayne Hembrow, chair of Shelter Cymru, said:

‘John’s passion for reducing homelessness, for the right to a decent, affordable and secure home and for pushing housing to the top of the political agenda has been second to none. His leadership and commitment have made Shelter Cymru a crucial player in the housing sector. He leaves an impressive legacy’.

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, commented:

‘I have known John over thirty years, and in all that time he has been a tireless campaigner for the rights of people to decent accommodation. Under his leadership Shelter Cymru has become a hugely respected and highly effective organisation. It has been a privilege to have worked with him.’

John Puzey said:

‘Leading Shelter Cymru over the last 30 years has been an enormous privilege. I have learned so much and personally grown as a result and I hope made a contribution to its success. Thanks to a committed passionate staff group the charity has made a major impact over that time, transforming the lives of thousands of people and influencing the policy and practice landscape for good. But there is still so much to do and I wish my successor all best wishes for the future.’

His successor will be announced in the near future.

Look out for an article by John Puzey looking back over his career in the next issue of WHQ.

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