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THE charity behind a new supported housing scheme for vulnerable women in Newport is celebrating a successful first year, but has urged more people to come forward if they need support.

Amazing Grace Spaces opened Grace House, in the city, last December as a support and recovery centre for women recovering from alcohol or drug dependency.

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the organisation has seen its hard work rewarded, helping residents move back into work, training, and the community.

The charity is now looking ahead to what will hopefully be a less turbulent year in 2021, and director Caroline Johnson has urged other women to get in contact if they are struggling with addiction or dependency.

"If we can reach an individual, we can hear their story and help them," she said. "The best way of working with [addiction] is by getting people into places like Grace House, and letting them know we're there for them."

South Wales Argus:

Caroline Johnson, director of Amazing Grace Spaces. Picture: www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk

In its first year, Grace House has welcomed eight women – the house can accommodate five residents at any one time, but 2020 has limited the charity's capacity due to the series of public health measures for Covid-19.

Grace House operates as supported housing for people recovering from addiction – but unlike a rehabilitation centre, where people are subject to stricter rules, the staff at Grace House encourage the residents to rebuild their lives.

"What I like about Grace House is that we get to know a person and understand their needs," Mrs Johnson said. "Then they can develop, grow, and move forward into the community, or college and education. We know they can do it."


Mrs Johnson added: "The staff believe in them, and look at their good qualities. Sadly, with a lot of girls, they don't see that they've taken positive steps towards their recovery.

"It's a journey – sometime you go backwards and sometimes forwards. They need so much encouragement and support."

Grace House was opened shortly after Amazing Grace Spaces made headlines with its homeless pods scheme in the city centre.

The charity works in partnership with the UK-wide organisation Green Pastures, and relies heavily on funds from charitable trusts as well as local support.

Last year, it received a £3,565 grant from the Argus' parent company's Gannett Foundation, which went towards the furnishing of Grace House.

But the pandemic has brought new financial challenges and Amazing Grace Spaces is now looking for new support to help it continue its work in the new year.

"We've got rooms we'd love to be filled," Mrs Johnson said. "We hope next year we can. We can take people from anywhere.

"We hope in 2021 we can fill the house and get funding for all our projects. We're all set up, and ready to go."

For more information about Grace House, contact Amazing Grace Spaces by calling 01633 439100.