How Splott Community Volunteers helped vulnerable people fight winter in Cardiff

Cardiff is one of the wettest cities in the UK. But this year it got even more rain than usual, which has left people vulnerable.

Funded by the National Grid, Splott Community Volunteers started Warm Winter Clubs to help homeless people fight winter. The Warm Winter Clubs ran throughout the week, distributing warm packages which include gloves, blankets, hats, socks and items to let people stay at home warm for free.

Gavin Thomas has been homeless for 20 years, he says it became increasingly difficult to keep himself warm as the weather got cold, especially because it rained most of the time in Cardiff.

John who had been homeless only recently says that winters were the hardest to survive, ” The kit helps me stay dry and warm, I didn’t know what to do before”.

The Warm Clubs don’t just cater to the needs of homeless people but also help people from the older community. Michael is 80, and being retired he has struggled financially, ” Lot of old people can’t afford to buy these things, and you need to keep warm in this weather or you’ll do down”, he says.

Mevis McAuliffe, 89, says that Warm Clubs is a very good idea for people like her, ” I love the blanket! I use it all the time, it is very essential to have these things for us old people”.

The team have distributed more than 100 warm packs so far. Apart from Warm Winter Clubs, Splott community of volunteers hosts many other programmes like a weekly breakfast club , knit and natter, after school help and opera shows.

Splott Community Volunteers has been running for eight years. Lynne Thomas is the project manager. “We started with the desire to help people who were facing homelessness to helping people on low income, I love how everybody is proactive, we don’t wait for others to solve our problems for us, we come together and help each other”.

Warm Winter Clubs also give individuals who live alone or are a retired an opportunity to contribute meaningfully. Edward Bush has been a volunteer for three years. “After my wife passed away, some friends came over one Thursday morning and asked if I would like to help, I’ve been coming every Thursday since, and I think I will keep coming.”

Along with Warm Winter packs people can also get a hot drink and snack for free, the community centre also has a charity shop to provide affordable clothing to the locals.