Ex-soldier and police boss hail ‘brilliant’ social enterprise work in Wrexham
This article is old – Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2022
An ex-soldier who battled drug addiction and PTSD gets his life back on track with a social enterprise that helps vulnerable people.
Danny Chard, 33, says his life spiraled out of control after leaving the army when he ended up sleeping rough in Wrexham, getting into trouble with the law and being addicted to cocaine.
But he found a new purpose in life thanks to the support he received from Jaune et Bleu and he now volunteers at their community center on Henblas Street in the city centre.
Danny told his story during a visit from North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin, who is a big fan of the organization.
Yellow and Blue was founded by local plumbing and heating contractor Pete Humphreys following the death of his father, also known as Pete, and a close friend who both suffered from bowel cancer.
He is dedicated to helping the vulnerable and anyone facing short or long term hardship, illness, disability or physical and mental difficulties.
Demand for their support has skyrocketed during the pandemic and, among other things, they have provided 21,000 free meals in a year during lockdown.
According to Danny, now in temporary accommodation with his partner, he will be forever grateful to Jaune et Bleu for making a huge difference in his life.
He said: “After returning to Wrexham I was struggling with mental health issues but unfortunately I turned to drugs, cannabis and cocaine.
“For the past 15 years I’ve struggled with drug addiction, inside and outside of prison and things like that.
“I’m clean of cocaine by the minute, but I wouldn’t say I’m fixed. I’m at what they call the “white knuckle” stage, but the support I’m getting here is a huge help.
“I came to Jaune et Bleu at the beginning of November because my partner and I were homeless on the streets, just asking for help because we had been everywhere else and we kept being passed from pillar to post.
“The first thing Pete did was give us a hot drink, give us a meal and ask if we needed any clothes. He treated us with respect. He did not despise us. I had a chat with him and we carried on from there.
“I know what his goal is and what his vision is and I like where it’s going. I love what he does with the local community and immediate community needs, so I started volunteering.
“The most important thing is the respect we get here. We are all human.
Pete created Yellow and Blue after overcoming mental health issues following the death of his father and close friend
He said: “I was on Chirk’s deck and ready to jump. I was suicidal because I was fed up with life even though I have always had my own business and have a masters degree.
“My mum picked me up from the bridge and took me home and took me to the hospital. The only reason I wasn’t severed was because she said that she would take care of me.
“When I started going through all these treatment processes and joining these groups, I started meeting these other guys who didn’t have a mother.
“That’s why I support everyone with mental health here. I take people from the recovery, I give them opportunities, jobs and things like that.
“I still do occasional plumbing, but Jaune et Bleu takes up all my time.
“We had £10,000 from the National Lottery at the start, but we are struggling for funding and surviving day to day.
“We really need all the help we can get. We need multi-year funding now for sustainability, so I don’t have to worry about next month’s rent and things like that.
Commissioner Dunbobbin said he was grateful to Danny for sharing his experiences which illustrated the “transformational impact” Yellow and Blue had on the lives of people who turned to them in times of need.
“Jaune et Bleu is a brilliant social enterprise and the work they do here is just phenomenal,” he said.
“They support all different types of people from various backgrounds, whatever, who might otherwise fall through the cracks of the system.
“There’s a lot of peer support available here and people are shown the right places to stay or if they want a job or any other kind of help.
“It’s all driven by the vision of one man, Pete Humphreys, and it’s a fantastic tribute to his father and his friend who inspired him. I’m sure they look at it with great pride.
“What they are achieving at Yellow and Blue is also a great honor for the local businesses that support them.
“It’s a model that could be replicated anywhere and it would be great if something similar was established in other North Wales towns.”