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A CHARITY which helps support homeless and vulnerable people across Newport, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen has scaled up its services to cope with the winter lockdown.

Helping Caring Team – better known as HCT – was formed in 2018, and became a registered charity in March last year.

“We started up in a car park providing hot food and drinks for homeless people,” said founder Hayley Thomas. “That built up to us doing more and more.


“We are very lucky, we have got a lot of people supporting us. Whatever we can do we are there at crisis point, and then work with councils or other charities to refer people onto.

South Wales Argus: HCT founder Hayley Thomas. Picture: HCT.

HCT founder Hayley Thomas. Picture: HCT

“That progressed very, very quickly as people got behind us. We have businesses and supermarkets behind us.

“We haven’t got a criteria. As long as people are prepared to work with us, we are there for them.

“We are not an ongoing service, we are there in times of crisis.

“Nobody is to be judged and nobody is to be turned away.

“We refer people to the relevant services to help them. But we let them know if they need help again, they only need to pick up the phone to us.”

HCT received an anonymous £10,000 donation back at the start of the pandemic, and have used the funds to temporarily house people in hotels to get them off the streets.

“We have housed lots of people in hotels temporarily – whether it’s for days or weeks,” said Mrs Thomas.

South Wales Argus: The HCT team out and supporting people who are vulnerable or homeless. Picture: HCT.

The HCT team out and supporting people who are vulnerable or homeless. Picture: HCT

“We received an anonymous £10,000 donation when the pandemic hit. We are a grassroots organisation so anything we get goes directly to the people in need.

“We were very scared about the impact of the virus, so we ended up putting 32 people in five different hotels across Newport, and we offered them support.


“Within five or ten minutes of getting out of the van to go and help someone it's perishingly cold.

“There’s nowhere near the number of homeless people out there on the streets at the moment, but it’s still a big issue in the city.

South Wales Argus: HCT making up food parcels using donations. Picture: HCT.

HCT making up food parcels using donations. Picture: HCT

“It’s not just about homeless people. We help anyone who comes to us if we can.”

Rhian Rogers, one of the group's trustees, said: “A lot of the trustees have training in mental health. A lot of what we deal with has to do with mental health issues.

“We sit, chat and take the time to listen to them, and look to direct them to the right support.

South Wales Argus:

Rhian Rogers, middle, with her mother Ailsa Morris, right, and HCT founder Hayley Thomas

“Once the support is in place, they know we are still there.”

The group were also recognised for their work after being awarded the High Sheriff Award last year.

South Wales Argus: A supermarket donation to HCT. Picture: HCT.

A supermarket donation to HCT. Picture: HCT

They are appealing for donations of clothing and food, as well as money to help fund the temporary housing of vulnerable people.

You can find out more about the group, or get in touch about their services via 'HCT Vulnerable and Homeless' on Facebook.