I first got involved with TRAC2 in the summer of 2015, helping with local efforts to provide clothes and bedding for Libyan refugees stranded in the camps in Calais. I became a trustee the following year and now, just over four years later, I’m honoured to be taking over as Chair.
And what a year it’s shaping up to be. We’re in the process of bidding for new funding that will allow us to overhaul our existing operations and proceed with ambitious new projects, shaped around the need that we know exists across Torfaen.
At the heart of these activities is our fantastic, and growing, family of staff, volunteers and supporters. They put in the hard work and long hours that help their neighbours overcome social and economic hardship. They bring their local communities together. They are a lifeline for many families in Pontypool. They are an inspiration to me, but not just me. Speaking at last year’s Evening of Thanks, A-list supporter, Hollywood star and Port Talbot boy Michael Sheen told us that:
‘The crisis intervention delivered by the team, supported by volunteers and the community, is saving lives. It is treating people with the dignity and the love they deserve. And it is a love… it is a tough love, a get-your-hands-dirty love, it can sometimes be a furious love, and it’s what gets things done when they need to be done. Whether it is as simple as ensuring that someone has a kettle and some electricity just to make a cup of tea. Or someone who will talk to someone, show some solidarity, share their experiences, draw on what they’ve gone through to connect with someone who is going through it in that moment and feels like they might be alone. Finding someone a home after years of living on the streets. The interventions that TRAC2 deliver really, really matter.’
Michael was right. What we are doing matters: we’re changing people’s lives. These changes may be small, and they might seem simple, but as acts of love they are contagious, and they ripple outwards. We will all need the unconditional support of others at some point in our lives, and it is a privilege to play my part in supporting TRAC2 and the group of extraordinary individuals who make its work possible, and are always there – without recognition or fanfare – when people need our support the most TRAC2 Charity Shop has had amazing support from the community in 2017. With over 11,000 customers and so much given by generous donators it is still the central focal point for many in the community. The shop continues to maintain its high quality, low cost items to suit every need, taste and budget.