Hi, I’m Dee…and I’m a Wallich Voice, talking about my experience of homelessness so that I can help others, which is something I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do before I took part in the RSVP and WISE programmes.
I represent the Wallich at events and conferences, talking about my experiences of homelessness and helping people who deliver services to homeless people to fully understand what it’s like to be without a home.
Shelter Cymru Conference
I wasn’t sure what to expect on the journey from Cardiff to Swansea on the way to my first conference. As an ex-service user and now a staff member at The Wallich I was intrigued to know what the conference was all about.
On arrival at the stadium, we received a warm welcome at reception and found the function area was easy to find. It was a relaxed atmosphere and the staff were friendly. The rooms used were clean and airy and everything seemed well organised.
The main conference room was laid out well. There were plenty of tables and plenty of screens to view the presentation slides. I thought the speeches were very interesting, particularly Michael Simon’s in a big way as it went into full detail of how the community all muddled in together to restore their own neighbourhood. It was good to hear stories about the residents themselves.
My only concern was that the discussions did not mention service users, residents and volunteers enough. It would have been great to have seen more people who have actually been homeless at the conference.
It was great to hear people speaking in Welsh although sometimes there weren’t enough translation headphones to go around and I missed some of what was being said. It was really interesting to hear about other homelessness organisations and housing associations and certainly an eye opener to the work being done across Wales.
I enjoyed the workshops, especially one run by a bedroom tax activist and I found it really moving. In between the sessions I learned a lot about other charities from their stalls in the exhibition hall. The staff promoting each organisation gave me a good insight into what they were all about. I also enjoyed all the freebies I picked up along the way.
The buffet was most tasty. The Welsh cakes were a nice touch and absolutely delicious. 10 out of 10.