National award for a former homeless Denbighshire youngster Monday 11 September 2017

A young woman from Denbighshire who transformed her life with support from Gorwel, is celebrating winning a national award at a star-studded event in Cardiff.

National award for a former homeless Denbighshire youngster

Chloe Thomas, 19, from Denbigh, was named Young Tenant of the Year in the 2017 Wales Tenant Participation Awards.

The teenager turned her situation around and has settled into a new home after receiving support to re-build her life from Gorwel at Yr Hafod.

Yr Hafod is a temporary supported housing project for homeless young people in Denbigh run by Grŵp Cynefin’s in-house support provider, Gorwel. It is located near Hwb Dinbych which provides education and employment opportunities for people in Denbighshire.

Thanks to the support recieved at Yr Hafod and Hwb Dinbych, Chloe learned budgeting and cooking skills and went on to qualify in animal care at college.

“I was absolutely shocked to win the Young Tenant of the Year award,” said Chloe.

“Things had been difficult at home, and there was a lot of family strain, so at 16, I was placed in a supported housing project in Flintshire. My college tutor at Northop got in touch with my Youth Project worker, and five weeks later, I was referred to Yr Hafod.

“It was a fortunate step for me personally - I was back in my home town, I was close to my taid, who lives in Denbigh and I was taught a number of skills.

“I was given cooking lessons and taught how to prepare decent healthy meals. I was advised how to budget money on a weekly basis and was given support from the Bus Stop project which helps young people understand more about housing issues and tenants opportunities.

“I’m now in a much better place, and I’ve finished my City & Guilds college course in Animal Care. I volunteer two nights a week at the Hwb, supporting the youth workers in their role with the young people who attend.

“I guess it’s part of the reason I won the award. Because of my experience, I can offer real insight into what works for young people who need help.

“It’s good to give something back. As I gain more experience of working with young people, I hope to be find a job working in this sector.”

Chloe has, in recent months, developed an online character called Fred, an anti-superhero that offers tips and advice about day to day issues in a comical and lighthearted way. Fred was created as part of a supported housing project Chloe attended with Tape community music and film.

“I used Fred in my acceptance speech,” said Chloe. “He had to be there, he’s been instrumental in sharing my thoughts with organisations who fund supported housing schemes.”

Hafod and its services received its own recognition, winning the Participation in Supported Housing award at the TPAS ceremony.

A supported housing project set on the same site as Hwb Dinbych, Yr Hafod offers six young people aged 16 to 25 support activities on site and in the community.

Yr Hafod is owned by Grŵp Cynefin and managed by it’s in-house support provider, Gorwel. Funding is provided through Denbighshire County Council’s Supporting People team.

Catherine Owen from Denbighshire’s Homeless Prevention Team said: “We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to Chloe on her success. This is a great example of how a young person in Denbighshire has transformed her life through accessing the right support at the right time.

“This is a real success story and Chloe’s experiences, her growth in confidence and the new skills she has picked up on the way will provide hope and motivation to other young people to follow their dreams.”

Osian Elis Gorwel’s Homeless Prevention Co-ordinator said: “We are delighted that Chloe and Yr Hafod came home with these two amazing awards.

“There are a number of people and organisations working together to offer real grassroot support to some vulnerable young people, so national awards such as these are accepted on behalf of all those individuals.

“I’d like to thank everyone who works so hard in supporting young people across north Wales.”

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