Nominated for Humanitarian award
Emma Lewis is one of the founding members and Chair of The Roots Foundation Wales, a charity which supports young people in care, care leavers and their carers.
Emma set up the charity in 2011 because she kept coming across young people in care, who were falling through gaps in provision, when she worked as a community development worker in a disadvantaged area of Swansea.
Originally from Pembrokeshire, Emma was brought up in care after suffering neglect, as well as physical and sexual abuse. She moved to Swansea after meeting her husband and having her son.
After working for a range of third sector organisations, Emma worked as a supervisor and adult outreach worker at Ty Fforest Community House where the idea for establishing the Roots Foundation was born.
The organisation goes from strength to strength – it was featured on the DIY SOS programme, which renovated a building for them, including three semi-independent flats, where young people on the cusp of leaving care can learn independent living skills.
Roots offers free counselling, weekly youth drop-ins, workshops and training, carers’ support groups and coffee mornings, and designated projects that support young people in care who have been the victims of exploitation.
Emma is also a Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel member and Welsh representative for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (the highest level Inquiry in the UK into institutional failings) and was in 2018 awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Wales Trinity St David.