Helping change lives

Last Year was a very busy year for Cyrenians Cymru and it's subsidiary company CET Ltd and this year looks like being equally busy.

Below are just some of the most recent stories.


Charity Fund Raiser for Cyrenians Cymru

Grand Theatre Fund RaiserA fantastic, star-studded line up are turning up for our Comedy Fundraiser Night, Monday February 16th!
Tickets on sale now! Click the link below for more details

Comedy Night in aid of Cyrenians Cymru




Statement from Chair of Trustees

Declaration of insolvency

It is with profound sadness that the Cyrenians Cymru Board of Trustees have taken a decision to declare the charity insolvent and enter administration.
The independent financial investigation, which was initiated by the Board and Senior Management towards the end of last year, uncovered a systematic and extensive suspected fraud.  This was reported to the police in December and is now the subject of a police investigation.  Two employees from the charity’s Finance Department have been dismissed and arrested.

We are taking legal action for the recovery of all losses.

The consequences have been devastating for the charity. Monies due to keep services running have been frozen, in accordance with the policies of funders, and therefore the charity is unable to meet its financial obligations.

We have been working strenuously with the Welsh Government and other partners to keep the charity afloat, but without success.  All employees were informed of the charity’s position on 13th January.

We have kept the Charity Commission updated throughout, and have informed them of this latest development.  We will be meeting with Insolvency Practitioners today.

Since 1973 the charity has been at the forefront of tackling homelessness and poverty in Swansea and beyond.  We currently have 10 projects with 75 staff offering support to the most vulnerable in our community.
On behalf of the charity, I would like to express our deep gratitude to the staff, volunteers, funders, and all those who have supported this vital work over the past four decades.  I would also like to thank those who have used the services and helped to make them so welcoming, inclusive and supportive.

We will continue to make every effort, with partners and funders, to ensure that these essential services have a future.

Mark Sheridan, Chair of Cyrenians Cymru– Thursday 14/11/15


Pat Chown award 2014


The ReTreat project, based at the Cyrenians Community Centre, has won the 2014 Pat Chown Capturing Creativity award.  This annual award presented by Community Housing Cymru recognises innovation and creativity in service delivery.

The ReTreat aims to address the unmet needs of sex workers and those with co-occurring mental health and substance misuse issues.
Rachel Henderson,

The ReTreat Co-ordinator, said,

‘We are delighted to receive this award. Clients of The ReTreat are amongst the most marginalised and disengaged in society. There is little peer support, usually no family networks and a grim and dangerous world of exploitation and substance misuse. This project through an innovative, multi-agency support network is working successfully with this hard to reach group and making a real difference to people’s lives.’

Photo shows The ReTreat team: Maria O’Sullivan (Support Worker), Rachel Henderson (The ReTreat Co-ordinator) and Chris Skelton (Cyrenians Community Centre Manager).


Charity Praised for crucial role in hunt for new work

Cyrenians Cymru, Cyrenians Employment and Training and in particular their Employment Support Service (CESA) have been praised for their "fantastic service" in an article in South Wales Evening Post this week. ...

Read more about what Kim Davies had to say about the help she received from Cyrenians and CET...



Pennard Primary Harvest Festival

Pennadr Primary Harvest DisplayCyrenians Cymru would sincerely like to thank staff and pupils at Pennard Primary School for their wonderful Harvest Festival assembly. The pupils produced artwork, wrote acrostic poems and baked a ‘harvest loaf’ as part of their studies.

The children then handed over a donation of food and toiletries collected for distribution to homeless and socially disadvantaged people in Swansea. We would also like to thanks the other schools, churches and community groups who collect for us at Harvest time.




King of Your Blue Eyes Exhibition

A cyanotype photography and ceramics exhibition launched at the Swansea Grand Theatre's 'White Room' on Monday 29th September. This exhibition showcases the work produced by members of Dragon Arts and Learning Centre, part of Cyrenians Cymru as part of a project celebrating Dylan Thomas's life and work. This project is in addition to many other projects being run this year for the Dylan Thomas Centenary Festival. The artwork produced was of outstanding quality. The exhibiton runs until October 17th 2014.



Celebrating Dylan Community Project

To coincide with the exhibition Dylan’s Swansea, Swansea Museum is running a series of community arts workshops and museum visits, which will aim to explore aspects Dylan’s life and work. The outcome of ...the workshops will be displayed in an exhibition in the Museum’s Long Gallery between 2nd May and 15th June 2014 and will form part of the wider events in 2014 to celebrate 100 years since Dylan Thomas’s birth.

The two projects will be led by artists Mary Hayman and Rhiannon Morgan. Mary Hayman will be working with a group of participants at Cyrenians Community Centre in Dyfatty. They will be working on a mixed media project that will focus on aspects of Thomas’ life in Swansea.
Rhiannon Morgan will be working on a textile project with ethnic minority women at Swansea Bay Racial Equality Council. The group will look at who Dylan Thomas was and explore the theme of “Celebration”.

For more information call Swansea Museum on 01792 653763 or our community centre on 01792 470127.


Cyrenians Community Horse and Pony Scheme (CHAPS)

Cyrenians newest and most innovative project launches this Saturday. Come and join us for a fantastic fundraising day at Cefn Goleu Park.

For full details, click here to download the poster.





Working in Partnership with ‘Food for Life’

Colgate Dental Award April 2014‘Food for life Wales’, a food relief programme predominantly based in the Swansea and Cardiff areas, helping to feed those in need, is a campaign under ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Charity number 259649 Their mission is to help other charities who are already making a difference to the local community, such as Cyrenians Cymru.

Through their food relief programme, they have kindly agreed to provide a hot vegetarian meal every Thursday evening, at our Community Centre on High Street, Swansea, to over 60 homeless and vulnerable people. This is making a huge difference to the lives of people living below the breadline, in the area.

We would like to say a big thank you to their staff and volunteers for the delicious food.

More information about Food for Life Wales.

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Service Wins Colgate's Unsung Hero Award

Colgate Dental Award April 2014Swansea homeless dental service wins Colgate's Unsung Hero award.

A service for homeless people in Swansea has enjoyed a brush with success by winning a national award.

Homeless adults can access dental care at a fully equipped mobile clinic that ABMU takes to Dragon Arts in The Strand once a month.

This has helped transform their lives, as most of them would have found it almost impossible to get treatment in a more traditional setting.

Now the service has won the 2013 Colgate Unsung Hero award, a national campaign to find a dental professional who goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Lisa Llewellyn, a registered dental nurse at ABMU’s Community Dental Service, put forward the mobile clinic for the award. She said: “

There was a gap in the service. It’s very difficult for anyone to find a general dental practice willing to take them on, and it’s even more difficult for homeless people. They are very vulnerable adults, often medically compromised, and some have problems with drugs or alcohol. Before this service started there was nowhere for them. There is an out-of-hours emergency service but if it is outside the centre of Swansea, how are they supposed to get there when they don’t have access to transport? They can’t. These people are living on the street and just wouldn’t be able to access it.”

The mobile clinic was introduced around three years ago. Patients can be referred by GPs, other health professionals and by homeless charities such as The Cyrenians and Big Issue. Lisa, who is based at Central Clinic in Swansea, said:

“It has made a big difference to their lives. One young lady didn’t have any teeth. She was fitted with a set of dentures and that has restored her self-esteem. That’s just one example. People are coming to us because they are in pain. If they have a drug addiction they can have a lot of mouth problems. We can fix that and get them out of pain, and screen them for oral cancer at the same time. The Community Dental Service works closely with the Cyrenians to ensure patients are assessed properly. Many have complicated medical histories.

Although Lisa won the award as she put forward the entry, she emphasised it was very much a team effort. The prize included a hamper of Colgate products, as well as a £5,000 donation for a chosen charity – which Lisa has decided to give to Cancer Research. She said:

"Cancer touches a lot of people, whether it is oral cancer or any other kind.”

For further information please contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.

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Tesco Donates Food for the Homeless

Tesco Donation April 2014Cyrenians Cymru and Cyrenians Community Centre would like to say a BIG THANK YOU!

Cyrenians Community Centre would like to thank staff from Tesco Marina store, Swansea, for their kind donation of turkey crowns, vegetables and trimmings, which make a very healthy and nutritious meal for people who are homeless or socially disadvantaged and assist in tackling poverty in one of the most deprived area of Swansea. They will also be setting up a trolley ‘food bank point’ in store for Cyrenians Community Centre, so that customers can donate items directly.

For further information please contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.

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Bowel Cancer Awareness at CCC

Bowel Cancer Awareness Event April 2014Cyrenians Community Centre, High Street, Swansea are having a Bowel Cancer Awareness event on Thursday 3rd April 10:00am - 1:00pm.

Supported by Macmillan and Public Health Wales.

Information, help and guidance will be available.

For further information please contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.

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Rasoi Helps to Feed the Homeless in Swansea

Rasoi Helps Homeless March 2014Pontlliw based Rasoi Indian Kitchen fed over sixty people who are currently homeless or vulnerably housed in Swansea at a special event held on Tuesday 18th March.

The event took place at a community centre on High Street, which is run by Cyrenians Cymru, a local homeless charity, which exists to tackle entrenched poverty and deprivation in South West Wales.

The team at Rasoi, headed up by the co-owner of the restaurant Suki Kullar, provided a range of hot Indian dishes at the community centre and learnt more about the needs of people who are currently being helped by the Cyrenians.

Suki Kullar, co-owner of Rasoi Indian Kitchen said: “We were delighted to provide food for the evening and it was wonderful to see it enjoyed by everyone”.

“Rasoi Indian Kitchen set up and supports Sikhi Sewa Mission UK, a charity in India which aims to make the lives of vulnerable and impoverished people better through improved healthcare, so we were more than happy to assist Cyrenians Cymru to deliver their vital service, and in doing so has given us the opportunity to learn more about the vulnerable people living in our own city.“

“We hope the event will raise awareness of the excellent work that is being carried out by Cyrenians Cymru and the plight of people entrenched in poverty within Swansea.” One of the recipients, Hedi Ashkanian, said, “The food was very very tasty! I wanted the recipe. I really enjoyed the event!”

Polly Stone, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at Cyrenians Cymru, said: “We are so grateful to the Rasoi for providing food for this event. Due to welfare reforms we are seeing an increase in the number of people coming to the centre in need of hot meals.”

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Second Episode of ‘Swansea: Living on the Streets’

Network Premiere March 2014Second episode of ‘Swansea: Living on the Streets’ brings offers of help from over the border.

Since airing in England and Scotland, Cyrenians Cymru has received offers of help and donations from outside Wales.

The second episode of this hard-hitting documentary series on homelessness in Wales, told through extraordinary and compelling personal stories in the run up to Christmas, is a unique insight into the day to day life of those living on Swansea's streets. After 15 years living rough Alan struggles to get off the street, local residents have no idea that a homeless migrant is sleeping in their loft and police crackdown on the homeless drinking on the street.

Watch the second episode on BBC iPlayer...

Please click on the donate button on the right hand menu for ways to support our work.

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Let's Talk About Sex Event at CCC

Let's Talk About Sex Event March 2014Come along to our Let's Talk About Sex Event on Wednesday 12th March at the Cyrenians Community Centre.

The event will take place between 10:00am - 1:00pm, with help, guidance and advice on the following topics and questions:

STI’s, risk taking behaviour, self esteem, who did you sleep with last night? Contraception and condoms, confidential converstaion and Chlamydia testing.

For further information please contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.

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Network Premiere of Swansea: Living on the Streets

Network Premiere March 2014The first episode of this hard hitting documentary about homelessness, filmed by Chris Rushton, will air tonight on BBC One, in England and Scotland at 11:35.

Told through extraordinary and compelling personal stories in the run-up to Christmas, a unique insight into the day-to-day life of those living on Swansea's streets. Tracy ends up sleeping in a tunnel under Swansea railway station, Adam escapes the violence of Swansea's streets sleeping rough in the woods and Georgihka tries to make ends meet selling the Big Issue.

Find out more on the BBC website.

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No Smoking Event at CCC

No Smoking Event March 2014Cyrenians Community Centre is hosting a No Smoking Day event. With free tips, advice and help on how to quit smoking.

The event runs from 10:00am - 1:00pm on Tuesday 11th March.

For further information please contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.

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Amazon Helps Local Homeless Charity

Amazon Donation Thank You March 2014Cyrenians Cymru would sincerely like to thank Amazon Swansea for donating goods approaching their ‘use by’ date to the Charity. These goods are passed on to our service users, who are homeless, vulnerably housed and socially disadvantaged. The feedback we have had from recipients of the donations has been overwhelming. The Charity is also very grateful for the money raised by Amazon staff, which will assist us in delivering our core services in Swansea, and we look forward to developing this vital relationship in the future.

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Cyrenians Cymru ‘YouTube’ channel goes live!

Cyrenians Cymru ‘YouTube’ channel goes live! March 2014You can now watch coverage of Cyrenians Cymru’ s developments and learn about our services, on our YouTube channel.

Click on the link below which will take you directly to the channel.

Watch the recently uploaded video highlighting our ‘exemplar’ Cyrenians Supported Employment and Training Project , (CSET) – a project funded by the Welsh European Funding Office, and subscribe to our channel to receive news updates, information and much more!

Visit our new you tube channel!

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HOPE Swansea – Night Shelter Network

Hope Swansea March 2014Churches in Swansea are working together to meet the needs and care for homeless people through the coldest months. The night shelter, run as a joint project under the banner of Hope Swansea, will provide emergency accommodation and a hot meal for rough sleepers.

Seven churches, including Parklands Church, Elim City Temple, Linden Church, Mumbles Methodist and Christwell URC will each open their building up for one day every week.

Once the service is more established, there are plans to expand the length of opening time to four months.

Watch the video in which Homeless Nurse, Janet Keauffing, explains the need for this service.

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Food and Mood with Hafal at CCC

Food and Mood Event February 2014Cyrenians Community Centre will be holding a Food and Mood event on the 28th February.

The event will run from 10:00am - 1:00pm giving advice and guidance from Hafal on healthy foods, healthy eating and what foods are good for good moods.

For further information please contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.

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Swansea Residents Knit Blankets for the Homeless

Residents Knit Blankets February 2014Swansea residents over 60 and their care workers knit a collection of patchwork blankets for homeless people in Swansea.

Residents and staff at Grŵp Gwalia’s sheltered housing schemes have been putting their knitting skills to good use, making colourful patchwork blankets to be donated to homeless people of Swansea.

Angela Harvey, Scheme Manager at Ynysderw House in Pontardawe, held a knitting class in November 2013 with bags of knitting yarn donated by Llanon Women’s Institute in Ceredigion.  Gwalia residents from Ynysderw House, Pont Aur in Ystradgynlais, Llys Dewi Sant in Swansea and Llys Y Werin in Gorseinon were taught how to knit and build a patchwork blanket.

Since the initial knitting class, the over 60’s have continued to knit, working together to make patchwork blankets. So far, four blankets have been made, each with their own colours and personal touches. Angela Harvey said “It was a pleasure for myself, staff and residents to work together to knit blankets for the homeless. We chose bright colours for the patchwork and have crocheted around the edges to make the blankets very personal and cosy. We hope that they bring warmth and comfort to those who need it.”

The patchwork blankets have been donated to Cyrenians Cymru, a charity supporting homeless and disadvantaged people throughout Swansea.

Polly Stone, Marketing and Partnership Manager at Cyrenians said, “We are delighted to accept this donation from Grŵp Gwalia’s Sheltered Housing schemes. The staff and residents have put so much hard work into producing these blankets, and they make such a difference to the comfort of those people faced with sleeping rough”.

Residents and staff are continuing with their knitting challenge, with more patchwork blankets to be donated to Cyrenians at the start of March 2014.

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Healthy Heart Day at CCC

Healthy Heart Day February 2014Why not come along to Healthy Heart Day on Friday 14th February at the Cyrenians Community Centre.

The event will take place between 10:00am - 1:00pm, with healthy food, advice on eating healthily, advice on smoking cessation and advice on increasing activity.

For further information please contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.

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Swansea: Return to the streets

BBC Series Swansea: Return to the Streets February 2014New Series returns 10.35pm Monday 10th February on the BBC.

Follow the stories of homeless people in Swansea. Filmmakers Chris Rushden and Tracy Harris follow the compelling stories of homeless people in Swansea, showing us the lives of the people that have no choice but to live on the streets.

The Guardian Newspaper also covers this story.

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Love Your Liver Day - at Cyrenians Community Centre

Love Your Liver Day January 2014Cyrenians Community Centre is hosting a 'Love Your Liver' event. Free tips and advice will be available, informing you of what the liver does within your body and how you can keep it healthy.

Advice is also available on alcohol and your liver, alcohol and your love life, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis A and B immunisations for 'at risk' patients.

The event runs from 10.00am - 1.00pm on Wednesday 29th January. If you would like to attend please phone or visit the centre.

Contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.

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Hospital Donations Help Homeless People

Hospital Donations December 2013A big thank you to the kindhearted staff from Singleton, Morriston and Cefn Coed Hospitals whose donations will help the city’s homeless through the winter months. More than 400 bags of jackets, shoes, blankets, sleeping bags, and warm clothes have been donated. The donation drive was the brainchild of mental health homeless outreach nurse Pat Dwan and nurse for homeless and vulnerable adults, Janet Keauffling.

Link to story in the South Wales Evening Post.

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Welsh Boxes Packaging Donation

Welsh Boxes Donation November 2013Cyrenians Cymru would like to say a big thank you to Welsh Boxes and Packability staff for their donation of packaging. The packaging donated will be used to carry and hold Christmas food/hamper donations to the most vulnerable in our community.

Cyrenians Cymru and the Cyrenians Cymru Tenancy Support team would also like to say a big thank you to Albert Culver for donations of toiletry products.

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Knitting Cheer for Homeless People

Knitting Cheer for homeless people 2013Ladies at The Beeches Adult Day Care Centre have been helping the homeless people of Swansea. Following the success of the ‘Knit a Square this Winter’ Facebook campaign, the group has produced blankets scarves, socks and hats and donated them to local charity Cyrenians Cymru. A spokesperson from the charity said, “Warm dry clothing and blankets are always welcome donations at winter time”. “We would like to thank the group for all their hard work”.

For more information call us on 01792 467926

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Knit a Square This Winter

Knitting Cheer for homeless people 2013Debbie Jones is a much valued and dedicated volunteer to Cyrenians Community Centre and has donated knitted items for the past few years. This year her campaign ‘Knit a Square this Winter’ has gone viral! Community groups, schools and individuals have all been busy knitting, crocheting and donating to this excellent cause.

Cyrenians Community Centre Manager Chris Skelton said "I picked up approximately 9 bags of blankets, scarves and hats from Debbie last month and by the time I got to the gate at our centre 6 bags had been given out, the rest was snapped up immediately! The one thing that really struck me was the care and quality that had gone into every stitch. Beautifully created and very much appreciated!"

The staff, service users and supporters would like to thank everyone that has been involved in this campaign very much and especially Debbie Jones for making this possible.

To join the knitting community visit the Facebook page 'Knit A Square This Winter'.

Link to South Wales Evening Post article.

For more information call us on 01792 470127

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Bumper Harvest Festival Donations

Harvest 2013This autumn, Cyrenians has received bountiful food donations, courtesy of the efforts of children, parents and staff of local schools. This food is distributed through our various projects and goes directly to those in need.

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to: Dunvant Primary, Hendrefoilan Primary, Pennard Primary, Pen Y Fro Primary and Oakeigh House Schools. Your support, as ever, is much appreciated.

For more information call us on 01792 467926.

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Amazon Help Homeless People

Amazon Donations September 2013Cyrenians Cymru would like to thank Amazon Swansea for their generous donation of food goods approaching their ‘use by’ date. The goods will be distributed to people struggling on low incomes, through their Food Service.

Cyrenians hope to set up a central Food Bank in the coming months, to be based at Cyrenians Community Centre, High Street. This will be a new Cyrenians enterprise to help homeless and vulnerably housed people in Swansea Bay.

For more information call us on 01792 467926.

Link - Thank you to Amazon in South Wales Evening Post.

Link to South Wales Evening Post Press Release.

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Places of Change - From Exclusion to Employment

POCC logoNew report calls for pan-Wales training and employment services for vulnerable adults.

Research carried out by Professor Susan Hutson and Dr. Stephanie Jones has recommended the development of a network of training and employment projects across Wales for homeless and vulnerable adults.

Places of Change - From Exclusion to Employment was launched at the Shelter Cymru conference at the end of June. The researchers interviewed staff and service-users from homelessness organisations across Wales, over several months, looking at examples of good practice as well as gaps in delivery. The full report can be read here and the executive summary here.

The research comes in advance of a new European structural funds programme for West Wales and the Valley starting in 2014. 20% of funds will be targeted at combating poverty and social exclusion.

Other recommendations include closer working between the third and private sectors, links with leading projects in Europe tackling social exclusion, and residential training projects specifically for homeless and excluded people.

The Places of Change Cymru consortium, comprising Caer Las, Cyrenians, Cadwyn Housing Association, Cymorth Cymru, Shelter Cymru, and Gisda, has spent 18 months planning a project for submission to the 2014-20 programme. It will include ‘hubs’ of projects across West Wales and the Valleys to help people overcome barriers, participate in training, and find and sustain employment. It will also assist the development of social enterprises and micro-businesses.

The barriers, training and employment model has been successfully tested in the Swansea Bay area, with the ESF-funded Cyrenians Supported Employment and Training project, which has supported over 6000 people and helped 1200 to find and stay in work. As well as the social impact, an independent evaluation found that for every £1 spent on the CSET project there is a minimum net gain of £1.44.

Dr. Hutson said: ‘The timing is right to build on existing foundations. The Places of Change Cymru model not only fits well with Welsh Government priorities, it offers new approaches to old problems, and could make a real difference to the lives of homeless and vulnerable people.

Conrad Watkins, Cyrenians CEO, representing the PoCC consortium said ‘People in Wales are facing a tsunami of deepening poverty and social exclusion from welfare cuts and economic gloom. The Places of Change proposal offers a coherent and supportive route to help people from exclusion towards employment. We want to link up homelessness organisations across Wales to deliver this, and offer hope to people at the sharp end of poverty.

Consortium members will now be meeting with Welsh Government ministers and the Welsh European Funding Office to discuss the findings of the research and the development of the Places of Change proposal.

For more information visit www.placesofchange.org.uk

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Europe Day Celebrations

Europe Day Flag 2012Cyrenians Cymru would like to wish everyone a ‘Happy Europe’ Day, May 9th! Here’s to all our friends and partners in the other Member States, and for the support we receive from the Welsh European Funding Office. This support helps deliver much needed European funded projects, which benefit the people of Wales.

More information about Europe Day...

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CSET Project extended to June 2014

WEFO logoCyrenians Supported Employment and Training Project extended to June 2014.

We are pleased to announce that, following meetings with the Welsh European Funding Office, the CSET project has been approved for extension to June 30th 2014. The project helps vulnerable adults across the Swansea Bay region to overcome barriers, provides training, and support in finding and sustaining employment.

The extension has been agreed following strong success in supporting people furthest from the labour market. Since 2009 the project has worked with 6,380 people, helped 890 gain qualifications, and 1,109 find work.

Its success has been attributable to providing a coherent route towards training and employment, which includes support to address significant barriers arising from homelessness, substance misuse, social isolation and disengagement from mainstream services. An independent evaluation in 2011 found that it was a ‘good practice model that could be extended across Wales and the UK’ and a further evaluation in 2012 demonstrated its economic value by calculating a minimum cost-benefit ratio of £1.44 for every £1 spent on the project.

Conrad Watkins, CEO of Cyrenians Cymru, commented: “We are delighted that the Welsh European Funding Office have approved this extension to next year, and recognised the social and economic importance of this project for the growing numbers of people who are experiencing severe poverty and exclusion. The barriers, training and employment model is one that works for many, many people.

The contract extension runs from August 1st 2013 to June 30th 2014, and delivery is being procured through Buy4Wales. Information will be posted on www.cyrenians.co.uk/procurement/

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Our Big Walk - Fundraiser

Our Big WalkHere is a request from Cyrenians supporters and staunch campaigners for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Alan and Marilyn Thomas - the driving force behind Swansea’s ‘City of Sanctuary’,

Dear Friends,

As most of you know, Marilyn and I are planning to spend five weeks on the Wales Coast Path from 13 April. We are both 65 this year and it is also our 40th wedding anniversary in August, so we want to do something a bit different. We are not taking the car, just carrying what we need from place to place. In that time we hope to get from Benllech in Anglesey to Cardigan, a total of 342 miles of which we are aiming to walk at least 250 (and take local buses or trains for the rest).

We are trying to get sponsorship money to help destitute refused asylum seekers here in Wales. Half will be for the Welsh Refugee Council Hardship Fund and half for the SHARE Tawe voluntary hosting project. We are aiming at £5,000 (plus £100 per month for SHARE Tawe).

Please consider sponsoring us and please pass this on to your friends. We would love it if people sponsored us per mile up to our target of 250 miles - or even better if they committed to a regular contribution to SHARE Tawe - visit their webpage for how to do it. Or people can make a one-off donation through JustGiving on www.justgiving.com/MarilynAlan

So please help us reach our target!

Thanks, and do have a great Easter break.

Alan & Marilyn

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Grant will ensure future for UiD Group

Big Lottery LogoLottery grant will ensure future of support group for asylum-seekers and refugees, and help set up an emergency food distribution service.

Cyrenians Cymru’s Unity in Diversity Group.

The Big Lottery has awarded a grant of £33,238 to Cyrenians Cymru for its Unity in Diversity Group which is dedicated to the friendship, support and welfare of asylum seekers and refugees in the Swansea community.

The group meets in central Swansea two evenings a week, and offers a warm welcome, as well as practical help including hot meals, access to the internet, laundry facilities and English classes.

There had been fears about the future of the group, as it has relied heavily on donations, and the worsening economic climate has had an impact. This grant secures its future until at least 2015.

It will also support the establishment of an emergency food distribution service, to help people using Cyrenians services who are struggling to feed themselves. Recent figures from the Cyrenians Community Centre have revealed that up to 17% of service-users are not in receipt of any income. Two years ago the figure was 2%.

Sally McDonald of the Cyrenians Cymru charity said ‘We are delighted that this grant has been awarded to the Unity in Diversity Group. It means the service can be maintained and allows for new developments such as a volunteering programme and the Cyrenians Food Distribution hub.'

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Swansea Freemasons Support for Cyrenians Cymru

Freemasons LogoThe ‘Feed the Homeless’ committee of the Swansea Freemasons recently approached the Cyrenians Cymru to see if we could use their help. Our staff met the members of the committee at the Cyrenians Community Centre so they could see that one of the main services we deliver is subsidised healthy meals from the Owl & Parrot Café run within the Centre.

Our services impressed the committee and they immediately gave us a cheque for £200 and pledged a monthly sum to provide on-going support.

It is much needed and very welcome in these straitened times.

Our most sincere thanks to all the Swansea Freemasons and the Feed the Homeless committee!

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Horse Scheme to assist recovering addicts

CHAPS horse imageAn innovative project which aims to develop new solutions to entrenched problems in Swansea was announced today.

CHAPS is a £795,000 three year project to engage with urban horse owners and residents and set up a community-led equine facility in one of the most deprived parts of Swansea. The project is being delivered by a local charity Cyrenians Cymru, who for forty years have developed schemes to help tackle poverty and deprivation in South West Wales.

The funding comes from the Big Lottery’s £ 2.2 million ‘BIG Innovation’ programme. CHAPS has a multi- purpose and will also work with a variety of other statutory and voluntary agencies to discourage the increasing trend in urban horse ownership, horse abandonment and provide a way for people on rehabilitation programmes for heroin addiction to engage in distraction activities with horses. Studies have shown that being around horses’ changes brainwave patterns and addicts become more centre focussed. This may help reduce the risk of drop out from rehabilitation programmes. The project will also act as an innovative means of engagement for people who may be missing out on accessing other vital services such as housing support, drug support and employment advice within the community.

Using animals as therapy is not new: the Greeks documented the horse's therapeutic value in 600BC and French physician Cassaign concluded in 1875 that equine therapy helped certain neurological disorders.

But the project is most certainly innovative for Wales. CHAPS follows models used by similar successful projects based in Europe such as the Fettercairn Youth Horse Project and the Dunsink Horse Project in Dublin who work on the ground with the local community, and Basta, a project which uses horses in the recovery of substance misusers and the inspirational foundation of San Patrignano in Italy.

Horse impoundments in the Swansea area went up from 71 to 129 between 2010 and 2011. Heroin addiction also increased 180% in the last three years. Both problems have placed an increasing financial strain on the local authority.

The project aims to set up a stabling block, provide training in horse care, woodland management and health and safety as well as developing micro businesses around bee keeping and worm farming with by-products. People on rehabilitation programmes will help out at the stables as part of their recovery process.

In order to engage with the youth in the community, the scheme will adopt riding ponies and work towards the long term goal of becoming a viable community led social enterprise as a riding school. It will also encourage youths to work towards career opportunities in the horse industry amongst others.

The location is still under debate but City and County of Swansea have committed their assistance in trying to approve land that is suitable for long term use to ensure the project is sustainable after the three year Lottery funding.

Link to BBC article...

link to Wales Online article...

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Donation from Ysgol Gyfun Ystylafera

Cyrenians Cymru would like to express their heartfelt thanks for the £100 donation from Cronfa Ddyngarol, Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, Swansea

The Gronfa Ddyngarol or Benevolent Fund is a striking feature of life at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera since the early days.
Pupils organise various fundraising activities in order to alleviate suffering and assist needy causes locally and in disaster areas in many parts of the world.
Annually, between £6,000 and £7,000 is raised and distributed to needy causes.

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Homelessness set to rise in Swansea

Homeless rise imageSwansea homeless charity, Cyrenians Cymru is predicting a rise in people sleeping rough over the Christmas period.

Conrad Watkins, CEO said: “The impact of the welfare forms has not hit the people of Wales with its full force. More benefit cuts due in April 2013 combined with the rising cost of living and other austerity measures, will cause increased hardship and risk of homelessness.

There is no accurate figure for the number of people sleeping rough in Wales but national statistics estimate a 23% increase over the past year. The criminalisation of squatting will most certainly lead to an increase in homelessness, as will changes to housing benefit for under-25’s .

We must implement as many measures as possible to combat poverty and tackle homelessness; one of the worse forms of social exclusion. There is only one emergency bed space in the City and rents are on the rise. There is a need for more care services for older homeless people who may have long term substance misuse issues.

Heroin addiction and drug related crime has also increased dramatically over the last three years. There are over 6,000 registered addicts in the greater Swansea area and rising, and only 650 treatment places. We welcome a review of the current drugs policy which is failing a whole generation of alienated youth, and caused many, many deaths.

The stark reality is things are bad enough now – and unfortunately they are due to get much, much worse”.

Services such as those offered at Cyrenians Community Centre, High Street provide a lifeline to people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness not just at Christmas, but all year round.


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World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day October 2012Come along and celebrate World Mental Health Day at Cyrenians Community Centre. The event will offer advice on 'food and mood' - healthy nutritious foods for mental well being, and an information stand from MDF the Bipolar Organisation.

An introduction to Mindfull Meditation will take place from 11.00a.m. - 12.20p.m. Please call or visit the centre to book as spaces are limited.


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Nine Carrot's Food Co-op 6th Birthday Celebrations

Nine Carrot's Food CooperativeThe Nine Carrot’s Food co-operative based at Cyrenians Community Centre in High Street, Swansea are pleased to be celebrating their 6th Birthday Party on 9th August. They are currently delivering around 75 bags a week of fruit, vegetables and salad to one of the most deprived areas in Wales. Each bag costs £2.00.

Clare Evans the Healthy Living Coordinator at Cyrenians Community Centre said “this represents excellent value for money ensuring the local community have access to fresh, seasonal produce and assisting them to eat healthily on a tight budget.”

The Community Centre will have demonstrations on “cooking on a budget” at 11am and 12 pm on 9th August. All are welcome.

Orders can be placed via Cyrenians Community Centre on 01792 470127 or for regular customers on the new Nine Carrot’s Food Co-operative e-mail nine.carrots@hotmail.co.uk

Local food co-operatives can be found at www.sustainweb.org/foodcoops/


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Designed to Smile event at the Community Centre

Designed to Smile event July 2012Come along to our Designed to Smile event. The event offers advice and information on cleaning your teeth and oral hygiene.

FREE toothbrushes and dental health leaflets will be available.

The event runs from 10.00am - 1.00pm on Thursday 19th July. If you would like to attend please phone or visit the centre for details.


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Let's Talk About Sex event

Love Your Liver July 2012Cyrenians Community Centre is hosting a 'Let's Talk About Sex' event 10am - 1pm on the 1st August. The event offers advice, information and tackles issues on STI's, contraception and condoms, risk taking behaviour, self esteem and chlamydia testing. A chance to talk on related confidential issues is available and a sexual health nurse from ABMU will be in attendance.

If you would like more information on the event please contact the Cyrenians Community Centre.


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Physical Activity Awareness Day

Physical Activity Awareness Day July 2012Cyrenians Community Centre is hosting a 'Physical Activity Awareness Day' on the 30th July 10am - 1pm.

Advice and help is available on how to stay physically fit, healthy and how to incorporate activity into your daily lifestyle.

All are welcome to learn and join in the fun. For more information please contact the Centre.


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Service ‘unique in Wales and essential to Swansea’

Health Care at the CentreHealth Care Service for homeless people ‘unique in Wales and essential to Swansea.’

The latest report on the health care service at Cyrenians Community Centre has been released, covering the period from April 2011 to April 2012, by Jan Keauffling and the High St. Swansea GP Practice. Jan was awarded an MBE for services to homeless people earlier this year, and this report demonstrates that the health service at the centre is now a key resource for Swansea Bay. Conrad Watkins Cyrenians CEO said ‘The health service links with the support, food, and training on offer at the Cyrenians Community Centre not only to provide opportunistic health interventions but also planned treatment programmes for homeless and disadvantaged people. It is a service that is unique in Wales and absolutely essential in Swansea.

Along with the day-to-day primary care and counselling services, notable developments over the past year have included: a community dental team starting a clinic for treating homeless & vulnerable people, a clinical audit related to the care of homeless & vulnerable people, more homeless people immunised against influenza than in any previous year, and the start of a Hepatitis C support group.

Read the Review of Health Care Services at the Cyrenians Community Centre. (PDF Format 600kb)

The service is a partnership between Cyrenians and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health authority. The Cyrenians Community Centre is funded by the Welsh European Funding Office.


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Love Your Liver event at the Community Centre

Love Your Liver July 2012Cyrenians Community Centre is hosting a 'Love Your Liver' event. Free tips and advice will be available, informing you of what the liver does within your body and how you can keep it healthy.

Advice is also available on alcohol and your liver, alcohol and your love life, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis A and B immunisations for 'at risk' patients.

The event runs from 10.00am - 1.00pm on Wednesday 18th July. If you would like to attend please phone or visit the centre.


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Job Fair at Sherwood's in Morriston

Job Fair at Sherwood's July 2012CESA are holding a community a event/jobsfair in the Morriston area on Wednesday 11th July at Sherwood’s in Morriston from 10am – 3pm (formally Room at the top).

We have sent personal invites to over 1000 local residents in the Morriston, Clase and Clydach areas and the event is also being advertised by Jobcentre Plus in Morriston. As this is the first such event in Morriston in a number of years we are hoping to attract up to twenty employers and local providers who can assist local people with employment and access to training.

We will be providing refreshments and food for the employers in attendance. I would be really grateful if you could attend as we are looking to attract as many nationally recognised employers as possible.

For more information contact Chris Stephens on 01792 464229.


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Evening Post Theatre Job Fair

Job Fair at the Evening Post Theatre July 2012CET will be attending a Swansea Recruitment and Careers Fair at the Evening Post Theatre, High Street, 12pm - 3pm on Tuesday 3rd July.

A range of exhibitors will br present and Jobcentre Staff will be providing job searches.

Apprenticeships, training opportunities and careers advice will also be available.

For more information contact CESA on 01792 464229.


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'Money Matters' Job Fair at Swansea Leisure Centre

Money Matters event June 2012CET will have a stand and be attending a "Money Matters" support and advice event at the Swanses LC. The event will be held by Julie James AM & Geraint Davies MP 12.30pm - 3.00pm with advice on benefits, pensions, utilities and any financial issues.


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Sun Awareness Day at the Community Centre

Sun Awareness Day June 2012Come along to our Sun Awareness Day at the Cyrenians Community Centre. The event takes place on the 27th June and offers advice and information on how to keep safe in the sun.

BBQ foods and free smoothies available.

For more information contact the Community Centre on 01792 470127.


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Jan awarded MBE for services to homeless people

Jan the NurseCongratulations to Janet Keauffling who has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to homeless people in Swansea.

Jan is no stranger to awards, having picked up the prestigious Queen’s Award for Nursing in 2010, and Shelter Cymru’s Val Feld award the previous year for her work with homeless women. And the High St. Surgery, which partners with Cyrenians to provide the service in the community centre, was named practice team of the year for 2010 by the Royal College of General Practitioners. Jan’s work at the Cyrenians Community Centre began six years ago, initially funded by the Cyrenians and then after 18 months paid for by Iechydd Morgannwg Health authority (now Abertawe Bro Morgannwg). It is a unique service in Wales, that depends for its engagement with homeless and vulnerable adults on the partnership with Cyrenians, and the trust, support and goodwill built up by the work of staff at the centre. This work is made possible by ESF funding from the Welsh European Funding Office, and helps vulnerable members of the community overcome barriers so that they can move on towards training and employment.


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Refugee Week Wales Event

Refugee Week Wales 2012Home from Home? Seeking Sanctuary in Swansea.

A new exhibition at Swansea Museum 16th June- 31st August 2012.

The Refugee Week celebrations start with a special preview evening on Friday 15th June 2012 from 7pm - 9pm. Refreshments, Lebanese snacks and a special performance by Tan Dance based on a Refugee story.

On Saturday 16th June, Refugee Week Wales will be at the Waterfront Museum (front lawn) with this year's Global Village Fair celebrations. Bring all the family and friends and take part in International sports, traditional UK sports day activities, community dance and music performances, exhibitions, stalls, interactive display or enjoy and sit back with a picnic and globally inspired food.

All week you can also vist The Container (an interactive outdoor exhibition) at the National Waterfron Museum daily 10am - 5pm.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Swansea Museum, Swansea City of Sanctuary, Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group, Asylum Voices and Displaced People in Action.

Find out more...


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Wavehill evaluation hails success of CSET Project

Wavehill Report cover imageEvaluation hails success of Cyrenians Supported Employment and Training (CSET) project.

An independent evaluation carried out by Wavehill Ltd. has hailed CSET as an ‘exemplar project’ of significant economic and social benefit to Wales. Funded by the Welsh European Funding Office, the scheme has worked with over 5,000 disadvantaged people in the Swansea Bay area, supporting over 850 into employment, with help to remain in work.

The project is tailored to people who are disengaged from mainstream services, including those who suffered homelessness or social isolation. It offers an integrated network of services that:

1. Help people overcome barriers.

2. Provide a wide range of accredited training.

3. Help people find and stay in employment.

Economic benefit to Wales - £1.44 for every £1 spent.

The evaluators undertook a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of the £5.9 million project, and calculated that for every £1 spent the return on investment for Wales was £1.44, adding that this was likely to be a ‘conservative estimate’.

‘Good-Practice Model’

The evaluation summarised CSET as a ‘good practice model that could potentially be extended across Wales’.

Cyrenians has joined forces with Caer Las Cymru, Cymorth Cymru, Cadwyn Housing Association and Shelter Cymru to form the Places of Change Consortium. The POCC consortium is looking to develop the model across Wales, in areas of acute need, under the 2014-20 structural funds programme.

To read the full evaluation report by Wavehill Ltd. click here (PDF Format 1.1Mb).


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Jubilee Party at Cyrenians Community Centre

Jubilee Party 2012Come along and celebrate this historic event with all the friends and family on Friday 1st June 12.00pm - 4.00pm. Have fun and enjoy our music through the decades - live band and old fashioned tea party with food provided. Fancy dress welcome, information and advice on healthy eating also provided.

For more information contact the centre on 01792 470127.


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CESA at Job Fair

Tycoch Job Fair 2012CESA will be attending a job fair held by Gower College Swansea at the Tycoch Campus on the 24th May 2012. Offering help, advice and information about our services to the annual college leavers looking to enter the jobs market for the first time. The event runs from 10.00am - 3.30pm.

For further information contact Cyrenians Employment Support Agency (CESA)...


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Europe Day Celebrations

Europe Day Flag 2012Cyrenians Cymru would like to wish everyone a ‘Happy Europe’ Day, May 9th! Here’s to all our friends and partners in the other Member States, and for the support we receive from the Welsh European Funding Office. This support helps deliver much needed European funded projects, which benefit the people of Wales.

More information about Europe Day...


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South Wales Evening Post Story

Evening Post article image April 2012Following the recent harrowing series on homelessness ‘Swansea Living on the Streets’, which featured the efforts of the Cyrenians Community Centre and Hostel in helping increasing numbers of homeless people in the city, we have received many offers of assistance from kind-hearted volunteers. The South Wales Evening Post looked at the difference that volunteering can make.

Read the article here.


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Swansea - Living on the streets

BBC time for living on the streetsThis 3-part series on BBC One Wales follows the personal journeys of some of Swansea’s rough sleepers over the three months up to Christmas 2011. Hard-hitting and poignant, it shows the daily challenges and struggles faced by those who have lost everything, and who rely on support from charities and church groups. The Cyrenians Community Centre, where much of the filming took place, appears regularly. The series does not seek to make judgement on its characters, or the society that tolerates this level of deprivation; it only seeks to tell their stories. It is through these stories, inevitably, that the question is posed – how can this still be happening in 21st century Wales?

The first episode is on Monday March 5th on BBC One Wales at 10.35 pm - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01db84y and will be on iPlayer.


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Sir John Morris House opened by Julie James AM

Sir John Morris openingJulie James, Assembly Member for Swansea West, has formally opened Sir John Morris House on 30th January; a supported living project for older people who have experienced difficulties with substance misuse.  It comprises 6 single-person flats and one 2- person shared flat.

The project is a further extension of the partnership between Cyrenians and Family Housing Association (Wales), which has existed since the late 1980s.

Pictured from left to right: Jeff Evans (CEO Family Housing Association), Gaynor Jenkins (Project Manager), Julie James AM (Swansea West), Clive Scarlett (Cyrenians Quality and Business Development Manager).


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Business Minister pays Christmas visit to CESA

CESA small logoEdwina Hart AM, Minister for Business Enterprise Technology and Skills, visited the Cyrenians Employment Support Agency in Mansel St.,
Swansea in the week before Christmas. 

She chatted with staff and those who had recently been helped from homelessness and difficult circumstances back into permanent
employment; one of whom, thanks to start-up help from the Cyrenians, is now running her own successful catering business in Swansea.



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Homelessness - the silent killer

Crisis LogoA new report published by Crisis in December 2011, and based on research from the University of Sheffield, ‘Homelessness – the Silent Killer’, determines the average life expectancy of a homeless man as 47 years, and a homeless woman as 43.

The full report can be read here.


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Mid-term Evaluation Report

Wavehill Report cover imageAn independent mid-term evaluation of this unique project, which is funded by the Wales European Funding Organisation and which aims to help some of the most marginalised people in Swansea Bay participate in training and find work, has recently been carried out by Wavehill Ltd

They have found that

‘The mix of life skills, with work experience then a dedicated employment agency is the whole-person package that makes the Cyrenians model a success, and with a bit more time could prove to be a good practice model for similar charities across Wales and the UK’

To read the full report click here (PDF - 3.7Mb)


Cyrenians Cymru ESF Final Evaluation Report

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for those tendering for this contract can be found by clicking the following link Final Evaluation Report FAQs.


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Europe Day Road Show - at Castle Gardens

Cyrenians, CET Ltd and WEFO LogosCyrenians Cymru Registered Charity and Cyrenians Employment and Training participated in a road show on Monday May 9th 2011 to celebrate Europe Day, in Castle Square in Swansea.

The event will brought together many employment and training projects in Swansea who receive funding from the European Union to deliver services to those most in need and furthest from the labour market in all 27 member states. 

There were arts and crafts activities, talks on environmental awareness, healthy living advice and practical job coaching and employment support was on offer, as well as live music and entertainment.

The event was accessed by many people who came down to join in the fun and some of whom were able to seek our assistance on their journey towards accessing training and finding employment!

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Community Centre's 5th Birthday

On Saturday 7th May Cyrenians Cymru Community Centre held an Open Day to celebrate its 5th Birthday!

Sample PhotoAll were welcome for birthday cake, healthy smoothies, free sunflowers, free face painting for the kids and information on our new range of courses.

Join in the celebrations and check out our exciting new courses starting in May.

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Carl Chapple Exhibition

Carl Chapple Recent Portraits - at Celfi Retail Training Centre

Carl Chappel PortraitCelfi Retail Training Centre hosted an exhibition by renowned local artist Carl Chapple from 28th Feb – 18th  of March from 10-4PM Monday to Friday.

The exhibition was supported by the Arts Council of Wales and featured a number of paintings by Carl Chapple, predominantly portraits.

For more information phone 01792 467 926.

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