A donation has been made to a local charity helping the homeless by the Gild of Freemen of Pembroke.
On November 15 in the Council Chamber of Pembroke Town Hall, Master of the Gild Cllr Dennis Evans presented a cheque of £250 to Amanda Evans, founder and trustee of Pembrokeshire Homeless. Also present were eight members of the Gild.
Amanda described Homeless Pembrokeshire as a charity operating throughout Pembrokeshire providing humanitarian support to people sleeping rough.
The support includes emergency rough sleeper packs consisting of rucksack, sleeping bag, tent, waterproofs, first aid, clothing, cooking equipment, toiletries, rations, and anything else which might make life on the streets more bearable.
Packs are adapted to meet individual needs. Other support includes sign posting to other agencies like; Pembrokeshire County Council, The Wallich, Mental Health Services, foodbanks, Citizen Advice, Department of Works and Pensions.
The charity was founded in 2017 by Amanda, who told how she was profoundly affected by an experience she had whilst out running. She saw a homeless man and was touched by his plight, only to learn the next day that the man had died of exposure. Deeply moved, Amanda founded the organisation, and set about helping where she could. Mobilising an army of knitters to make woolly hats and distributing them to whoever needed one.
After a year, and a steep learning curve, Amanda realised that the problem was a growing one and significantly more help was needed. In 2018, Homeless Pembrokeshire started to supply its emergency rough sleeper packs, and Amanda, by now a seasoned volunteer and informational powerhouse, took Homeless Pembrokeshire to all corners of the county, providing practical help, and in some instances, life changing support.
During Covid, most people sleeping rough were taken into hotel accommodation and Homeless Pembrokeshire adapted its support from individual to community wide activities, delivering food aid throughout the county to isolated communities and individuals still sleeping rough. It was during this crisis, that Amanda herself became Homeless. She had fled an abusive marriage and had nowhere to go. She “sofa surfed”, slept in the charity van and office floor. Many times, she thought she might become street homeless. Amanda remained homeless for a further two years while at the same time helping others, sometimes better off than herself, but often much worse.
In 2022, she finally found a home with her dog Eric. Amanda continues to run Homeless Pembrokeshire, and almost singlehandedly continues to provide support to those living in extreme poverty on the margins of society.