Politicians, business leaders and third sector organisations joined us at St Fagan's Museum on 19th June to celebrate the first anniversary of End Youth Homelessness Cymru, the ten year campaign to end youth homelessness in Wales.

The event was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the campaign over the last year and showcase the potential of young people, highlighting what they can achieve if they receive the right support.

We were so excited to open the event with a video message from End Youth Homelessness Cymru ambassador, Michael Sheen, who announced a collaboration with BT to develop the UK’s first dedicated 24 hour helpline for homeless young people, designed by young people. The Youth Homeless Helpline appeal was launched by Michael Sheen in November 2017, and aimed to raise £60,000 to fund the helpline for a year. A public crowdfunding campaign last year raised just over £22,000. We'd like to say a huge thank you to BT and to everyone who supported our appeal!

We then heard from Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Rebecca Evans, who spoke to the audience about the Welsh Government's ongoing commitment to ending youth homelessness in Wales.

This was followed by a moving and insightful discussion between young people supported by Llamau and SYSHP, who were interviewed on stage by Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe. We are so proud of Dan, Tegwen, Maryanne and Adrian for so bravely and eloquently sharing their stories with the audience and speaking about their hopes and dreams for the future. 

End Youth Homelessness Cymru Project Manager, Hugh Russell, was joined by Bonnie Navarra, Vice Chair of End Youth Homelessness Cymru and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, to give an update on the work of the End Youth Homelessness Cymru group, and to speak about the important role of organisations such as the police in ending youth homelessness.

Students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama gave a powerful and moving performance about ACEs, highlighting issues faced by young people, and the impact adverse childhood experiences can have on someone's personal development and mental health later in life.

We were also pleased to hear an update from Andrew Connell and Jonathan Webb, from the Wales Centre for Public Policy, who gave an update on their research findings into the underlying issues associated with youth homelessness.

First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones, addressed the audience via video message to reiterate the Welsh Government's commitment to ending youth homelessness, and to reaffirm how important it is that we continue to listen to the needs and experiences of young people as the driving force behind the End Youth Homelessness Cymru campaign.

The event also marked the launch of a new group to tackle youth homelessness by the Welsh Government, which will work closely with End Youth Homelessness Cymru to ensure a cross-sector unified approach to ending youth homelessness in Wales.

It was then handed over to the Llamau choir to close the event, which is made up of people supported by Llamau, as well as Llamau colleagues and board members. 

Frances Beecher, Chief Executive of Llamau, the lead charity in End Youth Homelessness Cymru said,

“We’re really proud of the progress that the campaign has made over the last year towards ending youth homelessness in Wales, and are thrilled that we’ve been shortlisted for the Nationwide Community Grant.

The experiences of the young people speaking at today’s event show just how much work still needs to be done to prevent youth homelessness in the future, but their stories also show just how much potential young people have and how much they can achieve with the right support.”

We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in making the first anniversary of End Youth Homelessness Cymru such a success, especially to the amazing young people who shared their experiences and to all of the event speakers.