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Press Release
November 15th 2015

On the 20th of November 2015 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be introduced to some of GISDA’s young people and staff. The visit will take place at GISDA’s catering training centre, known as ‘Te a Cofi’ in the centre of Caernarfon.
They are already patrons of one of our partner organisations in England Centrepoint who undertakes similar work to GISDA. This will be an opportunity for them to hear some of our Young people’s stories and the additional difficulties that comes with being homeless in a rural area.

GISDA was established in 1985 to provide support and accommodation for homeless young people in the area. Since then, GISDA has developed many other supporting projects and have recently evolved to include Social Enterprises within the structure as another means of sustaining services for vulnerable young people. GISDA is a charity that provides intensive support and offers opportunities to vulnerable young people between 14 and 25 years old in North Wales. GISDA seeks to improve young people’s lives by working with them to develop independent living skills, employability skills and health and a sense of self-worth. Over the last year alone GISDA’s services has reached 2000 young people. The support offered to each individual work towards achieving defined goals that are tailored to each young person’s needs, directly addressing the difficulties each young person is experiencing. Through the range of projects and therapeutic support that GISDA offers, young people gain the confidence and the skills required to live independent lives. Some of our projects include supporting young parents, raising awareness of homelessness across schools, finding and providing suitable and supported accommodation for young people and employability support. Our various social enterprises provides further opportunities for young people such as our cleaning company ‘Sglein’ (Shine), Cinematic – Inflatable Cinema, painting and decorating, Sandwich van and our famous ‘Te a Cofi’.

The Duke and Duchess will gain an overview of the charity’s work by meeting young people that benefit from GISDA’s services. They will be visiting one of GISDA’s social enterprises –‘ ‘Te a Cofi’. ‘Te a Cofi’ is a café and catering training centre that offers young people work experience and training opportunities. Providing supported work experience to young people will help them achieve and gain the experience needed to gain paid employment and move on to independent living. They will also be meeting several other young people and will have the opportunity to listen to some of their stories and to hear about some of the challenges that faces them.

We are extremely proud of our Young people’s achievements and pleased that GISDA have been able to play a part by supporting and providing opportunities to develop themselves. The Young people have had to overcome some very difficult barriers without much family support. Young people are always welcomed at GISDA and we try our best to persevere through thick and thin to help Young people to get to know themselves better and to provide opportunities for them to realise their dreams and ambitions and to reach their full potential. Sian Tomos Chief Executive stated “There isn’t a better feeling in the world than to see a Young person flourish especially after overcoming some pretty difficult barriers.”

Like many other charities GISDA is facing extremely challenging times, as a result of severe funding cuts, the level of services that we can offer young people will inevitably be affected. In light of these impending cuts, GISDA sees this as a unique opportunity to showcase the invaluable work that is being done at the present. All of GISDA’s projects contribute to the Welsh Government National agenda to tackle poverty and therefore it’s vitally important that the Investment in our Services continues. The need is there. We are grateful to the Welsh Government, Gwynedd Council and the Lottery as our 3 main funders; we hope we can continue to work together to reach the goal of ending youth homelessness, of tackling poverty and to provide and equal opportunity to all Young people who may at a disadvantage for all sorts of reasons.

The visit reflects The Duke and Duchess’ particular interest in work done to help young people, investing in their future, making sure that they receive adequate and timely support in early adulthood to prevent the development of more serious problems.


Service User’ Story

‘L’ a 18 year old female from Caernarfon.

‘L’ moved in to Hafan hostel in Caernarfon following a self- referral to GISDA in May 2015. When ‘L’ moved into the hostel she was a vulnerable, scared and traumatized individual who had suffered serious domestic violence and emotional abuse. She was also taken into care from a young age due to her mother’s inability to care for her. As a coping mechanism ‘ L’ was drinking a considerable amount of alcohol which resulting in anti-social behaviour and violent outbursts .This brought ’ L’ into contact with the Youth Justice Service following numerous convictions for drunk and disorderly and assaults.

Initially ‘L’ struggled to engage with the support that was offered and her behaviour was very erratic and difficult to manage. She failed to engage with outside and was consequently breached by the Youth Justice Team.

However with intensive support and a therapeutic approach we started to see small changes and we built upon these. We focused on the positives and listened to what she actually wanted. Staff were consistent in their approach, they motivated ‘L’ and believed in her. We used a lot of praise and encouragement. We also used behaviour agreement detailing what was acceptable behaviour and what was expected of her but also detailing our responsibilities and how we could help and support her to change her behaviour. This worked well and L felt she was being supported and not punished for her unacceptable behaviour.

Our perseverance paid off and L started to engage well with her Key Worker and other members of the team. She started to attend various workshops such as healthy relationships and substance abuse. She attended our focus groups and contributed well and came up with a lot of ideas we could incorporate into our service user participation strategy. She also won our poem competition and was extremely proud of herself.

L is now working in our training café and thoroughly enjoys the experience. She is planning for her future and setting and achieving her goals.

Click here to see her poem

The Present Financial Situation

Like many other charities GISDA is facing extremely challenging times, as a result of severe funding cuts, the level of services that we can offer young people will inevitably be affected.

To ensure these services are sustained at the current level we kindly for donations to enable us to continue to support the young vulnerable people of our society.

If you wish to donate and support GISDA you can do so clicking the Donate button or by texting GISD40 £xx (the amount you would like to donate) to 70070.

Also why not donate to GISDA without any extra cost whilst Christmas Shopping by using the Give as You Live website. Every gift you buy this Christmas could raise money for us – and you don’t need to spend a penny more! Through Give as you Live over 3,000 stores will donate a percentage of whatever you spend online.

Please give it a try today and raise funds for us this Christmas, just by shopping online www.giveasyoulive.com/join/gisda

See our new film that was created to celebrate 30 years of our work - there will be subtitles on the film very soon. Thank you to everyone that contributed



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