Carwyn Jones Opens First Emmaus Community in WalesSunday February 21, 2016
Photographing Emmaus Support for the Homeless in Wales
Emmaus is a fantastic charity providing support for people who have found themselves homeless and increasing awareness of their plight across the UK. I have had the good fortune to photograph a number of Emmaus Wales events such as sleep-outs with Terry Waite and the opening of shops in towns including Cowbridge and Neath.
Nearly a year ago, I photographed the Nant Lais building in Bridgend. It was run down with walls covered in graffiti and grounds littered with empty beer cans and wine bottles. 12 months later I arrived for the grand opening and was amazed by the transformation.
I was greeted by two smiling gentlemen, both of whom now reside at Nant Lais. The building was now alive and almost sparkling.
Nant Lais was being opened by Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones. I think that just highlights the significance of the opening of Nant Lais in Wales. I had the opportunity to follow and photograph him as he was given a tour and could see that he fully understood and appreciated what the home meant to the Companions, the name given to the people who live there. Emmaus helps people who have found themselves homeless get back on their feet and this new home in Bridgend was providing something that had not previously existed in Wales.
The weather wasn't great with rain and drizzle, but I decided that the best photograph would be one taken from outside, standing in the rain, looking towards the First Minister as he cut the ribbon. Behind him I could see all the guests clapping as he said a final few words and then snipped.
I also took the opportunity to take some photos inside and out. When you are behind a camera, I think you see more of the details and it made me appreciate the incredible transformation of the building.
At the opening were a couple of students from Bridgend college who have been filming the regeneration of Nant Lais. I can't wait to see their video! They got the chance to have their photographs taken with both Carwyn Jones and the Mayor of Bridgend.
A selection of photographs from the opening have been uploaded into the Charity Event and Promotion Photography section on this website.
A news article written by Emmaus Wales explaining the rationale behind Nant Lais can be read on their website.
For further information on photographing news events, please contact Paul on:
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