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Friday, 11 October, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Hundreds helped by homeless charity
Homeless person generic
The chairty helps the most vulnerable in society
A north Wales man who left home at the age of 15 has paid tribute to a charity which has helped hundreds of homeless people.

Barnardos Cymru's Compass Project opened its doors to vulnerable members of society in 1999 to help youngsters regain control of their lives.


I would advise any young person who is in a similar situation to go and see them

Aaron Dodd

Aaron Dodd, who is now 21, sought out the charity last year after years of living in temporary accommodation drifting from house to house.

Mr Dodd faced huge credit card and bank debts - he has now turned his fortunes around and is back living with his parents.

"I got in with the wrong crowd and didn't think about the money I was spending," he said.

"The staff at Compass have lots of experience and have really helped me when I was in a bit of a mess.

"I would advise any young person who is in a similar situation to go and see them."

Organisers of the scheme, which is run in conjunction by Barnardos Cymru and Wrexham council, say the project has helped hundreds of people in similar circumstances.

Credit cards generic
Many youngsters have money worries

It was set up three years ago to help young people aged between 16 and 24 who need support.

The majority of youngsters who contact the project are homeless, struggling to care for a young family alone, or are leaving the care system.

The initiative also finds accommodation and supports young people with budgeting and advice.

Mr Dodd said he found it easy to gather mounting debts.

Store cards

"I applied for credit cards and store cards and started building up debts on them and I borrowed from banks.

"Basically I just signed a piece of paper and they gave me the card or money.

"I know it was stupid but I didn't really think about having to pay it back.

"When I finally sat down and worked out how much I owed I felt sick," he said.

The project employs a number of support workers who help the youngsters develop skills.

These include teaching them to budget, cook, fill in forms and manage debt.

Barnados have also set up a scheme to find emergency accommodation for young adults who find themselves suddenly on the streets.

New scheme

Under the Nightspot project fully trained hosts offer them a room with a key for privacy, an evening meal and breakfast the next morning.

The scheme, which was the first to be launched in Wales, was set up by the Compass project and has received 150,000 funding from the Welsh Office.

So far the Nightspot project has helped 20 young people since it was set up last November.

On average the young people stay with the host families for a week.

There will be an open day on Friday to applaud the services' successes.


More from north east Wales
See also:

13 Mar 02 | Politics
27 Feb 02 | Scotland
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