Help for the Vulnerable at Dezza’s Cabin

Dezza’s Cabin was set up by Kristina Wray, who says she was forced to move home 35 times in one year in order to protect her children from the threat of domestic abuse. 

In 2013 her eldest son, Derek, who was suffering with mental health issues and was on a long waiting list for support, took his own life. Despite the authorities being aware of Kristina’s concerns, she felt that the necessary help was not forthcoming.

Kristina identified a gap in services that needed to be covered, so she set up Dezza’s Cabin, a signposting and support service. The primary aim is to prevent suicide and support mental health. 

Mike Evans-Jones, speaking on behalf of the organisation, said: “We currently have two mental health first-aiders, Kristina Wray being one of these. But we are available to anyone that needs support, whether that be befriending, signposting or practical support.

“However, unlike other agencies, once individuals approach us we will stay with them until the issue is resolved, therefore bridging the gap between voluntary and statutory services. We find that a lot of people that we have helped in the past come back to offer peer support to those in similar positions to the ones they have resolved.”

The organisation offers free counselling, practical parenting sessions, house clearance for those struggling to cope, prescription collection and delivery, food parcels in partnership with Pembrokeshire Share Care and Give/Pembrokeshire Homeless community connectors to name a few, plus any support that is needed in any related situation. 

“We run groups specifically aimed at marginalised groups, such as men’s mental health, parent-and-toddler sessions with practical support, and ‘life lessons’ for those new to parenting, or setting up home for the first time,” Mike said.

Dezza’s Cabin also has a signposting and support service on High Street, Haverfordwest (opposite NatWest Bank), managed by Claire Walters and a few great volunteers, where people can come for support, and at the same time purchase items needed at extremely low cost.

Mike said: ”Our motto is ‘Take what you need, pay what you can’. We obviously have overheads that need to be covered such as rent and services as well as the costs associated with the collection of donations from the public.

“We also have a warehouse in Johnston managed by Tomos Lindley with the support of amazing volunteers, again with the same ethos as the shop.

“In the past month, Dezza’s Cabin has supported two families fleeing domestic abuse with only the clothes on their back. We were able to provide beds/bedding/furniture/clothing and essential items in order for them to set up new homes.” 

The organisation has also reached as far as Llandovery and London to collect furniture and belongings for families who had left all theirs behind. It also runs workshops such as bicycle maintenance and drop-in support sessions to those in need, and hopes to offer further sessions regarding mental health and support, including peer support sessions in the future.

“Our next venture will hopefully be at Monkton community hall, where again all the above services will be offered, as well as hopefully creating youth and community groups to support the community at large and bring people together.” 

Dezza’s Cabin also runs Dezza’s Santa Camper which is an outreach project where children can talk to Santa, receive a gift, reindeer food and sweets simply for a small donation. At Easter it arranges the Dezza’s Cabin toy hunt where volunteers place toys in parks throughout South Pembrokeshire for children to find. This event is not only great fun, but is also free.

Mike said: “We are currently struggling to collect donations as our volunteers’ vehicles have been worn out and/or damaged by the collection and delivery of items. We have therefore set up a Go Fund Me in an attempt to raise money for us to purchase a large van, and would be most grateful for any donations to reach our goal.”

To learn more or to contact Dezza’s Cabin, please go to its Facebook page.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for pembrokeshire.online, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says "Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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