27 September 2010
Gweini hosts conference in Newport
The home of the Ryder Cup has hosted a groundbreaking conference on homelessness and the church.
On 15 September, nearly 100 people from local authorities, voluntary organisations and various churches gathered at Bethel Community church in Stow Hill. The event was organised by Gweini, the voice of the Christian voluntary sector in Wales and Housing Justice, a Christian charity working in the field of housing and homelessness across England and Wales.
The day celebrated the practical help and care that many churches give to street homeless and vulnerable people. Also highlighted was the importance of good local partnerships working to prevent homelessness, particularly in view of current economic uncertainties.
The keynote speeches were given by Jocelyn Davies, Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration, John Puzey, Head of Shelter Cymru, and Aled Edwards OBE, Director of Cytun/Churches Together in Wales.
Jocelyn Davies AM said "Your organisations can bring additional resources and energy to address the common purpose of preventing homelessness and helping those in need. I am delighted that you are focusing on this issue today."
John Puzey of Shelter said "Whilst responding to the needs of street homeless people is clearly a high priority, I urge church activists not to forget the need for more affordable housing, especially for the 91,000 households waiting for council or social housing in Wales."
Elfed Godding, national director of Evangelical Alliance Wales said: "As part of the Evangelical Alliance, Gweini represents tens of thousands of Christians across Wales who are working to improve their communities. Homelessness is a personal and national tragedy and it's essential that people of goodwill collaborate to find solutions."
Alastair Murray of Housing Justice, who chaired the conference, said "The day helped connect the churches network with the wider statutory and voluntary sector. It really showed how much the churches are already doing, and the challenges we face in these uncertain times"
Workshops at the conference were led by experienced practitioners in the field of homelessness and housing action. Jade Holtham of Newport Teen Challenge led one on Church Winter Shelters, showing the successful partnership of churches and voluntary organisations working together through this project.
Dave Smith of Boaz Trust/No Accommodation Network and Frances Ballin of Homes4U led the workshop on supporting destitute undocumented migrants.
Aled Davies OBE said: "Caring for one other and especially for people among us who are in need is a totally non negotiable part of what it is to be a Christian."
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Notes to Editors
Evangelical Alliance Wales was started in 1990 and is a part of the UK Evangelical Alliance and the World Evangelical Alliance, both established in 1846 – the latter of which today has a global membership of 380 million. Evangelical Alliance Wales represents Christians and churches from within over 20 denominations in Wales to the government and media. The Evangelical Alliance Wales has a Media Voice Team that can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.