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Cardiff academy humbled by homeless drop-in centre visit

Pathway | 21st December 2023

Cardiff Rugby’s academy players have been spreading Christmas cheer to those who need it most this Winter. This week, Cardiff Rugby visited and supported a Charity in the centre of Cardiff to feed the most vulnerable under their care. 

The Rainbow of Hope drop-in Centre is a safe space for those in Cardiff who are struggling to find a roof over their heads or a hot meal to fill their bellies. 

Cardiff Rugby staff provided a Christmas lunch, with all the trimmings, and dessert. The academy players served food, made teas and coffees as well as sitting down to have a friendly conversation with those who are suffering the most in our region’s communities. 

The incredible staff at Rainbow of Hope are all volunteers, spearheaded by the incredible Lizz, who founded the charity after finding religion in a particularly difficult period in her life. Her commitment to the people and city of Cardiff is unwavering and insurmountable. Her strength and generosity was a shining example to all of us who arrived that day. Many of those who volunteer at the centre work multiple days a week, making sure that the basic necessities of those in need are met. 

Some of those utilising the services provided by the charity are homeless, some are transient people, and some are lonely and in need of a conversation with a friendly face. Even though they are enduring hardships within our community each and every day, there was an overwhelming atmosphere of joy in the room. 

During our visit for lunch, asylum seekers arrived at the centre - with nothing but the clothes on their back to their name. Without sanctuaries like the Rainbow of Hope, many people would struggle to find shelter, food or warmth here in Cardiff. The players and staff of Cardiff Rugby were glad to be able to assist in ensuring that each and every person at the centre that day had a good meal amongst good friends. 

The centre is supported by four local churches, each church donates food, clothes or hours of volunteering to ensure that the service remains open and free to those who need it the most. The charity, whilst rooted in the christian faith, offers a place of solace and security for those from any cultural or ethnic background. A community for all, a sanctuary for all. 

At this time of year, it’s important to remember that which we take for granted each and every day. Visits like these are the backbone of our commitment to assisting and supporting our region’s communities, and keep us rooted to the all in the nation’s capital. 

Gruff Rees, Cardiff Academy Manager, said: It was an amazing, and humbling, experience for the senior academy boys to support this visit. It reinforces that we may feel we have many tough challenges within our rugby bubble but ultimately we live in our own privileged world and this gives a true sense of reality and I hope the players and staff - who all worked tremendously hard and engaged brilliantly - really do understand how fortunate they are and seize every opportunity they are given.

"Also, a big thank you to club chaplain, Martin Lewis and his wife, Heather who organised the day superbly and make such a difference in our community.”