THE man behind Chooselife, a centre for service users including people with drug and alcohol related issues says that he is perplexed at the negativity from some quarters towards the centre.
Alan Andrews a former self confessed drug addict found God and turned his life around and has been instrumental in establishing a centre in the Tyisha/Glanymor Ward in Llanelli, which was recently described by a Plaid Cymru councillor as one of the worse wards in Wales.
Mr Andrews claims that the issues of drugs and alcohol abuse have plagued the area for at least thirty years and that without the presence of the centre an the help it offers the streets of Llanelli would sbe lined with far more drug users. He claims that the situation in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot is far worse. Recent media articles including an expose on prostitution in Swansea appear to support his claims.
Love him or loathe him Alan Andrews believes the centre is serving a much needy community and he says that unless anyone can offer him a building as good as the one they now occupy they are staying put at the centre opposite the new Copperworks School.
Mr Andrews was resolute in his view that Chooselife was not ‘the problem’ rather that the problem is ‘the drugs’.
Llanelli Online attended the centre on the day they were offering service users a Christmas Lunch. The staff engaged with clients and shared in conversations, games of pool and offered teas and coffees to those who had come in out of the cold. A meal fit for a King had been prepared by some of the six strong staff team. Two are full time and four work part time. The tables were nicely decorated complete with Christmas crackers. Alan told us that this may be the only Christmas lunch the service users would attend.
The centre receives food from a number of sources, food, which would otherwise be binned. The food is used to provide daily meals and snacks, which is all offered free to the clients. Alan told us that the centre has a good working partnership with the local police force and that the Police and Crime Commissioner was one of many people to take an interest in the work of the centre recently.
Despite the support there are some who question the integrity of Mr Andrews and question the location of the centre. Mr Andrews said that he constantly comes under fire via social media but despite requesting that the naysayers meet with him to discuss their concerns, they choose not too.
Llanelli Online spoke to Alan Andrews and put some of the negative arguments to him. This is what he had to say: