Huw's Story

Huw's Story

Huw Williams was Alabaré’s very first ambassador covering Wales. A solicitor by profession, Huw was the senior partner of the Cardiff office of a national law firm, before being appointed as the Chief Legal Adviser to the Senedd. Huw has been a trustee of both the National Museum Wales and the National Library of Wales and the company secretary of the Wales Millennium Centre from 1998 to 2019. He currently serves on several legal committees connected with Wales and is a member of his parish PCC in Penarth plus a church sub-warden.

 As part of the 30 Voice series, we spoke to Huw Williams about his role within Alabaré. 

I first became aware of Alabaré through a mutual acquaintance who introduced me to Brigadier Simon Firth, the then Gloucestershire ambassador. 

At that point, Alabaré were thinking about expanding the homeless veteran's project into Wales. Following the introduction, I invited  Simon and Andrew Lord CEO to my office and we arranged a presentation on the position of the third sector was in Wales, to explain how, following devolution, a lot of the interaction between the third sector and central government in Wales was with the Welsh Government, rather than through the departments in England who Alabaré were used to dealing with. The Welsh Government was also responsible for local government funding, so there were a lot of differences. I was also able to provide some support when Alabaré opened their home in Pontypridd, and because of that I found myself invited to be an ambassador, and for several years I was the sole ambassador in Wales.

As an ambassador, I maintained a link with Alabaré and periodically sent information that I thought might prove of interest in developing the Homes for Veterans project in Wales. The project was fortunate in being able to expand thanks to funding from the Libor Compensation Fund. So, when there was a drive to recruit further ambassadors, I was already in place. Now it is rather less lonely! I have continued to see my role as really being somebody who can help to guide Alabaré in relation to the institutional framework within Wales. That is very much how I became involved in the first place and why have I maintained the connection.  

I hold our Armed Services in the highest regard and the tasks that are expected of them, the difficult things they do in the most inhospitable places for us, mean they deserve affirmation and support from wider society, and especially from those, like me, who have never had to serve. I'm the first generation in my family for three generations who haven’t served in various military capacities. Sometimes I think we can forget about the benefits of the relative peace that we've enjoyed and I'm particularly aware that the veterans’ community when they fall on hard times have particular needs, some of which may be common with the rest of society, but some of which are directly related to the tasks they've had to carry out and their experiences during their service. 

I feel that the provision that Alabaré offers with their Homes for Veterans is a unique service that fills an important gap and I believe the ambassadors' task is to publicise the work and promote the needs of homeless veterans across England and Wales.

Our charity is gradually making an impact and Homes for Veterans Cymru has not only identified a gap in homeless service provision but has also created a small but important support resource for the veteran community, especially for those who experience challenges outside of the military environment at various points in their lives. 

The Veteran Self-Build Scheme is slowly taking shape and along with other things will ensure that Homes for Veterans as a whole continues to make an impact in the housing sector, providing the domestic stability from which so much of the good work can be carried out. So that's where I see an impact being made and I am glad to have played even a small part in it. 

Thank you, Huw, for your continued involvement.