Llamau is pleased to announce that its Step Into Education centre will now be open for two days each week in Merthyr Tydfil.

The centre is run by Llamau, Wales’ leading homelessness charity, and works with young people who are disengaged from full-time education, employment or training. It works with anyone who is aged 16-25 regardless of their housing situation, to help them improve their qualifications and basic skills in a friendly and relaxed environment.

The centre, which has been operating in Merthyr for several years, has been able to double the number of days it operates thanks to an “Active Inclusion” grant from the Welsh Centre for Voluntary Action (WCVA). The grant means it will be able to work with more people in Merthyr Tydfil, and better link the young people it works with the local Job Centre Plus and Careers Wales offices.

It’s been able to help people like Matthew* who, when he joined at the age of 16 was dealing with some major personal difficulties following the death of his mother, his substance misuse and homelessness. He was also in the middle of moving to a new foster placement.

Matthew worked hard at Step into Education showing great commitment and determination even during periods of ill health. He achieved his E3 Communications qualification, numerous Agored Cymru Certificates and took part in activities such as a road safety course.

Llamau was able to arrange some voluntary work for Matthew with a plumber, which sparked his interest. The contractor was so impressed with Matthew’s hard work and enthusiasm he agreed to take him on straight away. Matthew reports that he feels happier, more confident and excited about the future and starting his placement has been a major boost to his self-esteem!

The Active Inclusion fund is managed by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) supported by funding from European Structural Funds. It aims to reduce economic inactivity in Wales and improve the employability of disadvantaged people furthest from the labour market.

*Matthew’s name has been changed.