One of our guests who frequented the café whilst sleeping rough in Swansea. He came in for food, warmth and company.
He now has a flat of his own and a part-time job. He is so grateful for the support he received at Matt’s Café that he now calls in every day towards the end of the service to help mop the floors and prepare for closing time.
A guest came in one Sunday night. He was asking for help because he had been sleeping rough in Neath and his tent got burnt down. He was picked up by police and dropped here to receive help. He had a full time job and was unable to access services during the day out of fear of missing work. As it was a Sunday night we were limited in what we could do; temperatures outside were dropping to -4 that night and we were really concerned for him. We kitted him out with a sleeping bag, tent, thick coat and bag. He had a hot meal, charged his phone and stayed all evening until we closed. We took his number and promised we would get more information for him the following day. We also advised him of where he could sleep in the city centre and that the rough sleeper intervention team would be out in the morning.
We emailed the local authority immediately with his situation in the hope that they would reply first thing in the morning; and they did. The good news was that he was registered in Neath and they were able to contact the correct people to support him. We haven’t seen this man since but we are just glad we were open and available for a short while in his time of need.
A couple of weeks ago, a guest came in on a Tuesday afternoon towards the end of the service.
He was so thankful that the café was still open, as he told the volunteers that he hadn’t eaten since the previous Friday. He was well fed and watered before he left.
This Tuesday that guest returned. He only had a cup of tea but he told one of the volunteers who had given him food on his previous visit: “Thanks for that. You probably saved my life that day!”
During a recent workday by the Olchfa pupils, one of them stated: ” I didn’t know toilets could be fun!”
This was during a tour of the new toilets and shower room which were not finished the last time the pupils were in.
They were very impressed by the bright colours and décor.
One Monday morning in the autumn of 2019 we received an early caller to Matthew’s House. As we were not yet open, one of the team spoke to the guest and reminded him of our opening times as he was a regular. The guest was a man who seemed more confused than normal and not his usual self. Within the first few minutes the guest collapsed on the doorstep with a seizure. Following this, he lost consciousness and went into cardiac arrest. The volunteers called 999, whilst a member of the team began to render first aid to the gentleman. It became necessary to commence chest compressions and one of the volunteers ran to the railway station where there was an accessible defibrillator.
One Sunday afternoon at Matthew’s House a young couple came in to donate. Nothing unusual about that. .. but this couple were awesome because they had once been guests of Matthew’s House. For more than six months they had lived together on the streets of Swansea – sometimes in tents. For them, Matthew’s House had been a lifeline. Eventually they got a message about a home being available for them to move into but it was out of county and in mid Wales – more than 2 hours away from Swansea. They moved as they didn’t want to live on the streets anymore. That Sunday they were coming down to Swansea just to say hello, donate to us and thank us for being there for them when they needed it the most. They also said they miss Matthew’s House, Swansea and hope to be back one day! We were very glad to see them again and grateful for their donation of a sackful of crisps.
One Sunday in September a regular guest came into Matthew’s House and approached the reception to say hello. As the volunteer was saying hello back, the guest, a known rough sleeper, got out an envelope and handed over all that was in it: two £5 notes and said “This is for this place. Thank you”. And he walked off. On that day this guest had scrubbed up well -still rocking a fuzzy beard- but looking a whole lot sharper than his previous visits. This just shows that if you show love to others in their most desperate times, many will thank you in their own way someday! We love what we do and this is a reminder that what we do matters. We really are showing our city and our nation how to be kind and caring at a time when we all really need it.
On the 23rd September one of the guests was asked if everything was ok and how they were doing. It was a run of the mill question…but their response was brilliant and well worth quoting:
“Yes, I’m full up and that was tidy. Bang tidy! I’m so full now. Thanks!”
One of the team was at Matthew’s House in September, planning events, recruiting volunteers, communicating training and setting up ready for the harvest festivals. In amongst the work the phone went and one of the team answered it. On the other end was a hungry and desperate person asking for help. That day Matthew’s House was shut but with the partnerships and friends Matthew’s House has made all over Swansea we were able to signpost the gentleman to places where he could eat, seek warmth and then reminded him of our opening times so he could come and visit us the next time we’re open. He was thankful and finished the call in what sounded like a hopeful sigh of relief.
These moments are warming, knowing that we can help even when we are closed. Building a reputation and working with others in our city is important and we’re just here to serve and love anyone who needs it. Knowing that our number and contact details are being shared to those who need it without us knowing is testament to the work of our wonderful volunteer family and we couldn’t be happier in moments like these!