Around 200 people from across Wales, including those in Newport, are set to benefit from heavy-duty winter clothing donated to homelessness charity, The Wallich, as figures suggest the number of people sleeping rough in Wales is on the rise.

Brynmawr-based PPE and workwear provider, Armadillo Supplies, has donated heavy-duty coats, gloves, hats and thermal socks – worth £13,000 - to the charity, which aims to prevent rough sleeping and help people into volunteering, education or employment.

The donation will support The Wallich’s rough sleepers’ intervention teams in Newport, Bridgend, Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham, as well as those participating in its BOSS project – an initiative that reintegrates ex-offenders into their communities through skills training and work placements.

Statistics from the charity suggest that the number of people sleeping rough in the locations in which it operates is increasing. In the third quarter of 2017, The Wallich supported 130 people in Newport and its data, while not intended to provide absolute figures for rough sleeping in the city, suggests this number is up 19 per cent on the same period in 2016.

Mike Walmsley, corporate fundraising manager at The Wallich, said: “We can’t thank Armadillo enough for providing brand-new, warm clothing for our clients.

“The donation will help people experiencing homelessness and those undertaking employability training with us.

“Many of the people we support have had to ‘make-do’ for a long time with second hand clothes, and sometimes they’re not up to the job. Something as simple as a brand new waterproof jacket, that fits properly, shows a person that they are valued and that they deserve nice things. This has a positive impact in helping someone back on their feet after experiencing a challenging period of their life.”

Armadillo directors Shane Heath, Terry Daniels and Nathan Bowles donated the winter packs during a visit to The Wallich’s Learning Centre in Cardiff where they discussed the crucial work of the RSIT and BOSS project teams.

The BOSS project works with ex-offenders to provide skills, qualifications, confidence and support needed to seek employment opportunities, without which, re-offending or homelessness is a real risk. Since September 2016, more than 600 people have enrolled on the programme, of which 136 are now in work or self-employed, 211 have completed pre-employment training and 132 have gained industry qualifications.

Nathan Bowles, non-executive director of Armadillo Supplies, said: “Given our line of work, we felt we could help those who are in need of some protection against the typically cold and unpredictable weather. We recognise that many of those who we are helping wouldn’t otherwise have the funds or means to have a new heavy-duty coat this winter.

“As Armadillo Supplies is part of the Smart Solutions group, which has a flexible workforce of more than 5,500 people, we’re proud to not only see our donation support the rough sleepers’ intervention team in Newport, but also the BOSS project, too. There are certainly synergies that can be drawn from the BOSS project and Smart Solutions’ work in ensuring our flexible workers are skilled, qualified and compliant to work at a client’s site, so we hope the clothes will help those taking part in outdoor work placements keep warm, as they focus on building all-important skills and confidence to help them find a route into employment.”

Armadillo Supplies Ltd, previously known as Celtic Workwear and Design, is a joint venture between Smart Solutions’ CEO Nathan Bowles and directors Shane Heath and Terry Daniels. Formally launched in August 2017, Armadillo Supplies provides personal protective equipment and workwear clothing to businesses across the UK from its premises in Brynmawr.