A NEW project has been set up in Newport to reach out to some of the most "challenged" communities in Gwent.

Street Contact, which is part of Eden Gate, will be going into two areas of Newport – Pill and Bettws – and Ty Sign in Risca, Caerphilly Borough.

Marc Hepton, operations manager for Eden Gate, a charity which aims to help people dealing with substance misuse, addiction, homelessness and poverty, said: “Street Contact is a street outreach project.

“As an organisation, we have drop in sessions, but we felt we needed something that was in the community.

“It is going to be a community approach to try to solve the problems we have seen in some of estates - we will go into challenged areas to connect with the communities."

Mr Hepton said the project will be a 12 months pilot to start off with and that they will aim to go out into each area once a week.

They will be using an exhibition trailer and, amongst others, they will signpost people to different local services, he added.

“Pill is different from the other two areas,” he continued. “In Pill, we are hoping to connect and reach out with those who have a chaotic lifestyle.

“Our aim will be to reach out to people using drugs or any females who are using the area for sex work. We will encourage them to seek help.

“In Bettws and Ty Sign, it is going to be more about connecting with the community, working with young people and families, for example.”

Mr Hepton said they are not sure yet how the project will benefit the community, but that they are hoping there may be a reduction in crime.

He said he is hoping to start going out in the Pill area this week and, in the other two areas, in the next few weeks.

“I was a drug addict myself for 13 years, but I have broken free from that cycle of addiction - that is why I will be taking a particular interest in the Pill project,” he added.

Eden Gate run other projects across the city, including the Newport Night Shelter, when a group of Newport churches open their doors to welcome in the city’s homeless from the streets during the coldest winter months.

Street Contact is looking for volunteers. Eden Gate is a Christian organisation and they expect most of their volunteers will come from local churches. However, the project is open to anyone.

To find out more, visit the Christchurch centre, in Malpas Road, on Tuesday, September 26, from 7pm where more information will be available.

Alternatively, visit edengate.org.uk