Warm space at Caer Heritage Centre
Warm space at Caer Heritage Centre.

Ely and Caerau charity is helping twice as many struggling people as last year

ACE will host warm spaces this winter to help with spiralling energy bills

A CHARITY in Ely and Caerau is supporting twice as many struggling people as it did this time last year.

Community support officers working for Action in Caerau and Ely have helped 359 people since August, nearly double the figure of 183 from the same period last year.

ACE launched in 2011 and runs a range of services including a food pantry and a community shop. For the first time this winter it is running warm space sessions because of concerns that people cannot afford to heat their homes.

Community support officer Nerys Sheehan says the charity has never been more stretched.

“There is only so much we can do. It’s disheartening,” said Ms Sheehan. ­­­”This cost-of-living crisis creates a level playing field for all the wrong reasons.”

ACE employs about 40 people and enlists almost 90 active volunteers. Their evidence of local poverty helped to inform the Welsh Government’s free school meals policy. More recently, they are working to make school uniforms more affordable.

Ms Sheehan says they have helped people from as far as Penarth and St Mellons who could not find support closer to home.

Some parents are attempting to save on electricity and heating bills by sending their children to bed early and there have been cases of schools having to wash pupils’ clothes.

As people search for ways to save, Ms Sheehan expects that some may tamper with their electricity meters and use candles instead of electrical lights.

“It’s like we’re going back in time,” she said. “I just hope people look out for each other.”

  • The first warm spaces will take place at Caer Heritage Club on Thursday November 24 and at the Dusty Forge on Friday November 25.