When WellBox first launched in 2020, we knew we wanted to give something back to those in need as well as provide gifts for your staff. This began with partnering with local homelessness charities in our hometown of Manchester to provide 1 meal with each box purchased.
As WellBox has grown, we have extended this support to include more charities around the UK so companies can choose to support a charity closer to them.
In Wales, we have recently partnered with the charity Matthew’s House who are based in Swansea. We caught up with them to find out how the donations that our customers have made are being used and their plans for the future.
Matthew’s House is a home in the heart of Swansea, South Wales, that aims to provide hospitality and hope to anyone who walks through its doors.
Matthew’s House is an initiative of The Hill Church charity and is a social action project supporting homeless and vulnerable people in Swansea. It opened in February 2017 with a pay-as-you-feel waste food café called Matt’s Café, which has served over 105,000 meals using over 60 tonnes of food destined for the bin.
2,300 dignity packs have been made and distributed through The Homeless Period Swansea that Matthew’s House runs, ensuring that no one should have to make that choice between food and basic comfort. These packs are lovingly filled with essential hygiene items, including sanitary pads, toothpaste, underwear, deodorant, lip balm and more – collected monthly by individuals who call them a “lifesaver”.
There are shower and laundry facilities available for rough sleepers, as well as volunteer buddies on hand to meet guests one-to-one and offer friendly advocacy. In the planning stages is a community choir that will focus on reducing isolation and bringing people together.
All of your donations ensure that Matthew’s House can remain open for the 120 guests who visit daily and over 250 weekly in search of hope. As a volunteer-led project with a family of 109 volunteers behind it, Matthew’s House is a special place where people can feel safe. Thanks to dedicated support like this, Matthew’s House remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and adapted its support to provide 18,000 meals delivered to the doors of the vulnerably housed, rough sleeper teams and hostels just in the first lockdown.
As a result of this, Matthew’s House are bringing a new idea that was born to coordinate all the support available in the city of Swansea – this idea is called Hope in Swansea. Hope in Swansea is a free signposting app that is available for anyone to download to their smartphone or access online at www.hopeinswansea.org.uk It maps out all the support services in Swansea across all locations and support types, offering descriptions on what they do, how to contact them, and where to find them. This app means that at any moment if you or someone you know needs hope, it’s just a click away. Relevant, up-to-date, accurate information at your fingertips and completely free to use for anyone!
A story that highlights the significance of Matthew’s House being a safe place where people feel welcome, but also the desperate need for a tool like Hope in Swansea is this…
As we run our outdoor takeaway (adapted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic) we see hundreds of people each day who we get 5 minutes to talk to as they wait in the queue. A couple who we have seen each day have expressed real concern about their housing status. Whilst one of them had secured a place in a B&B, the other had been sleeping in a tent. After weeks of failed meetings and connections, we were able to give them one phone number for a contact we have with a local charity. After one phone call that night they were both in a B&B together, and their case is being handled by the right people. Being available and in the right place at the right time, was a life-changer for this couple. Thankfully, we had the right connections, but with the use of Hope in Swansea we will have the ability to do this far more often and with every single guest that we meet, quicker and easier than ever before.
Support and donations from people who believe in what we do makes this all possible. Thank you!