Our Gorwelion Project in Swansea has celebrated its tenth birthday this week with clients, past and present, staff and the Lord Mayor of Swansea at a reflective and emotional event.
Gorwelion is a recovery-focused supported housing project in Swansea; supporting those who have had a substance misuse issue, have been involved in the criminal justice system due to their substance misuse, and wish to follow an abstinence-based lifestyle.
The event on Thursday 27 September was held at the Waterfront Church and was well attended by the community, staff and brave individuals who have completed Gorwelion’s intensive recovery programme and those still going through it.
Many stepped out of their comfort zones to share their incredible stories and moved some of the audience to tears.
Inspirational speakers on the day of the event included, Dai McBride, a passionate Wallich support worker and previous client of the project. He discussed how the role Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) had contributed to his previous lifestyle and said:
“Drink and drugs are not my problem. They are a symptom of my problem… Where would I be without Gorwelion?”
Alan, a current Gorwelion client, has been in recovery for two and a half years after experiencing a period of homelessness and suffering a life-changing stroke. He said:
“It’s not just about giving up the drink, it’s about living a normal life. I never had a normal life.” He went on to say: “I’d just like to say thank you to everyone at Gorwelion for saving me.”
Moved by the courage of those who shared personal stories of previous homelessness, childhood trauma, crime and substance misuse. The Lord Mayor of Swansea extended an invitation to Gorwelion clients to come to dinner and talk with him further about their experiences.
Mark Winston, The Wallich’s assistant manager for its Swansea substance misuse projects, said:
“We’ve had a brilliant response from everyone who came to our tenth birthday. Our clients make us proud everyday but for some of them to get up and share their stories with a room full of people is absolutely exceptional.”
About The Wallich’s Gorwelion project
Support at Gorwelion includes help with tenancy and housing-related issues, but also has a significant focus on abstinence and recovery.
There is an expectation for Gorwelion’s clients to engage with mutual aid groups (such as NA, AA) and with treatment services such as WCADA, Dyfoddol, CDAT and PSALT. The Wallich aims to complement these services by providing encouragement, support and diversionary activities in a psychologically informed environment to help clients achieve and maintain an abstinent lifestyle.
The project consists of a core house, comprised of self-contained flats, a communal area, staff offices and garden, and other dispersed flats located nearby for those more independent and closer to move on.
Clients can stay at the Gorwelion project for up to two years, preparing to move on to independent accommodation, and are able to access up to six months of ongoing support when moved on.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, Gorwelion supported 21 clients through an intensive recovery programme; 18 male, 3 female with an average age of 38.