CA Ty Bronna
Being a young person and homeless in Wales can have a major impact on future prospects and employment opportunities. Statistics show that young people who are homeless are more likely to have poorer health, be unemployed, and have lower levels of education. They are also at greater risk of being involved in crime. Being homeless can therefore have a significant negative impact on a young person’s future, making it harder for them to find employment and access opportunities.
Many homeless young people sadly find themselves without a place to call home due to family breakdowns, unsuitable living conditions or leaving the care system. Experiencing a housing crisis is incredibly difficult for anyone but for a young person trying to navigate their way through changing life stages it can be particularly hard. But there is hope. For 20 years now Church Army Ty Bronna has been providing accommodation in Cardiff for 16–21 year-olds who find themselves without a home and to support them every step of the way towards independent living and a hopeful future.
Jayden’s parents were caught up in criminal activity, resulting in Jayden becoming the primary carer for his siblings. The family, as Jayden knew it, was torn apart when the Serious Organised Crime Agency raided the family home and the decision was made by South Wales Police, Children’s Services and the Family Courts that he and his siblings were not safe at home and needed to be placed into care. For Jayden, this meant a placement at Ty Bronna whilst his siblings were put into foster care. To protect Jayden and his siblings from further harm, he was only allowed minimal contact with his family. Subsequently, Jayden struggled to maintain his placement at Ty Bronna, presenting challenging behaviour and often returning to the family home. He felt ‘the system’ and all who worked for it were preventing him for being with his family.
Over time however, Jayden came to realise that by engaging with staff, who were always happy to oblige with anything he needed, he could do things like use the office phone and as a result, staff began to build trusting relationships with him. Jayden began engaging in support sessions and actively seek out staff for a cuppa and a chat whenever he was at the project, eventually expressing that it was a relief for him to live in a clean and safe home, where he was no longer living in fear for the safety of himself and his siblings. As a probable result of the trauma he had experienced, Jayden began to experience panic attacks and nightmares, and so night staff at Ty Bronna would offer to sit with him throughout the night and provide him with a caring and safe environment for him to chat through his feelings. Jayden had never been able to build relationships with his peers before due to caring for his siblings, but in this safe environment he was encouraged and able to do so by participating in activities set up in-house such as DVD nights and games nights.
Encouraged by staff, Jayden engaged with other support services and he entered a construction academy, gaining the skills needed towards a carpentry apprenticeship. He succeeded in his Level 2 and then sought work to become a fully paid carpenter. These huge changes in Jayden’s life meant he was seen as a positive influence on his sibling and was granted contact with them once a month with Ty Bronna staff taking him to the contact centre for the visits. Staff referred Jayden to the local council and helped secure accommodation for him in his chosen area of the city, away from his parents. He was the first person in his family to gain employment and become fully independent. Progress was made with his siblings and the visits increased to weekly overnight stays with Jayden taking full responsibility for them in his new home. The Church Army Visiting Support Service helped Jayden to furnish his property with everything he needed for his siblings.
Although family mediation was offered, Jayden was very vocal about not wanting to have contact with his parents, who had sadly not made any attempt to change their lifestyle which had caused the breakdown and separation of his family. Jayden left Church Army Visiting Support Services over three months ago but remains in contact and continues to flourish and has been full of gratitude for the staff who have cared for him. He has been invited to engage in Ty Bronna’s ‘Moving-On Moving-Forward’ programme and to return as a mentor so that he is able to share his experience and help other young people overcome barriers they may face to living a happy and independent life.
*Jayden is not their real name
Prayers in Focus
Rachel Codd, Support Service Manager at Ty Bronna asks:
Pray for our member of staff who are exposed to extremely risky and traumatic behaviour from the young people they work with. This can range from suicide ideation to sever self-harm.
Pray that each member of staff feels safe and supported at work as they maintain professionalism, compassion and empathy for the young people.
Pray that God will give staff members the strength, love and resilience they need to continue their vital work.
Happy 20th Anniversary CA Ty Bronna!
In 2021, CA Ty Bronna celebrated their 20th Anniversary! Over the years, the staff at CA Ty Bronna have successfully helped hundreds of young people make positive changes to their lives: providing them with a home, safety and security, plus access to education and jobs. This support has enabled many young people to move on from their previous situations and establish a better future for themselves. To mark the occasion Ty Bronna held an event at the house. The staff invited back past residents to visit for the day to see how much had changed since their time living there and share stories about how their life was changed by this unique place.
Rachel Codd, CA Ty Bronna’s Support Service Manager (pictured) said: “20th anniversary was a real moment for us to recognise and celebrate all the amazing work we have achieved. It was a celebration of the collaboration between all the agencies and volunteers who have worked so hard with us all the way along, we couldn’t do it without everyone’s help. We had a speaker who was a resident in the project 20 years ago. He now works in safeguarding for a homeless charity in Cardiff and this is a great example of the important work the project does.
It was especially wonderful at the celebration when we opened the time capsules buried at Ty Bronna 20 years ago. There were two capsules, one from Ty Bronna and one from a local primary school, so it was a real community effort when they were put together. We were surprised when we opened them that everything was so well preserved. It included a CD which had been recorded by residents at the time, they had written poems which they had put to music and recorded them on to CD which were sold in the local community to raise money for the project. Incredibly, the speaker we had invited was one of the young people featured on the CD. He hadn’t seen it for 20 years so this was really emotional for him.
We have replanted the original time capsules now and added a new one. We asked our current residents to add things and they showed wonderful creativity. They have really thought about what is relevant now and will be interesting to people in the future. They have included things like vapes and COVID tests but probably the most inspirational items are letters that each person has written to their future selves. They have included what their hopes and dreams are for their future lives, it is fantastic to know they are positive about their futures.