Canton cafe hopes profits will aid struggling families and the homeless

Boomerang founder is building on his experiences to give a helping hand to others

ENTERPRISING charity Boomerang has opened a new café in Canton with profits supporting struggling families and the homeless across Cardiff.

Boomerang founder and CEO, Paul Gwilym, who spent 15 months homeless himself, hopes the cafe will become a meeting point for businesses and community organisations. Autistic Proud Wales already meets there.

Boomerang was set up in 2016 with the aim of helping 100 working families. Since then, the charity has helped more than 40,000 people – and Paul has no plans to slow down.

Boomerang Lounge, near Victoria Park on Cowbridge Road East, is the latest project. Paul hopes to open another café in Splott later in the year, and eventually have a chain across Cardiff.

Paul Gwilym, Boomerang founder Credit: Boomerang Cardiff

After spending 15 months sleeping in a Splott storage unit, Paul, 45, made it his mission to turn his life around. His first-hand experience of hardship motivated him to help those in similar circumstances.

“I know what it’s like to be in a lonely place,” said Paul.

The charity’s website explains that it wants to “enable families to concentrate their efforts on more important things in life, helping their physical, mental and social well-being.”

The charity runs a warehouse in Splott where people can donate household goods and furniture, which is redistributed by Paul and his team to the families in need across Cardiff. In 2022, Boomerang distributed more than 2,000 pieces of furniture. From the warehouse they well affordable new and used furniture to help those who cant afford to buy from retails outlets.

Boomerangs storage unit in Splott (Credit: Boomerang Cardiff)

It also runs other projects, including its #EndPeriodPoverty campaign, which aims to help women who struggle to afford sanitary products.

Paul employs 24 Cardiff people to help run Boomerang, 11 of whom used to be homeless.

The Boomerang team at the Splott depot Credit: Boomerang Cardiff

Rhodri is Paul’s facility manager. He was homeless for 11 years and lived in a doorway. “It’s been pretty spectacular watching him grow,” said Paul.

Boomerang’s operations manager, Dave, spent seven years homeless. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I was sure that I didn’t want to go down the stereotypical homeless route of drink and drugs, so I was searching for something, and I am happy to say, I found my purpose,” he said.

All of Paul’s employees came from hardship, and now want to help people in a similar situation, while giving back to the community.

‘Helping bad times through good times,’ Boomerang Lounge Canton (Credit: Billy Stewart)

Paul’s long-term vision is to set-up Boomerang Housing to offer rented accommodation to working families at the same cost of social housing. “That’s the ultimate dream,” said Paul.

“It’s wrong that private renting is almost double the cost of social renting. It’s not fair on working people who can’t get a social house. A lot of people can’t get mortgages because of the extortionate interest rates. It’s really sad.”

The work is summed up in Boomerang’s slogan: “No one can help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

  • Find out more about Boomerang and their projects, and how you can help them by visiting their website through this link.