Who we are

SANDS CYMRU (formerly known as Swansea Drugs Project) is an independent charity limited by guarantee, which provides a range of services for drug users, their families and friends. The Project was founded in 1983 by local residents concerned at rising levels of problem drug use in the area.

Over the past 30 years, SANDS CYMRU has developed from a small community based telephone help line into one of the leading “street agencies” in Wales. SANDS CYMRU is committed to reducing the harm which drug and alcohol use can cause and to enabling drug users and ex-users to lead fulfilling and healthy lives. We are funded to carry out this work by a range of statutory contracts and charitable grants.

The demand for help from people with problems associated with drug and alcohol taking has grown tremendously since it was established, and in response SANDS CYMRU has successfully sought a range of funds for caseworkers and interventions to address a range of diverse issues.

We have helped to develop strategies for substance misuse treatment and prevention, we are called upon to provide training to statutory authority staff, we have participated in prevention initiatives and we have been instrumental in developing new services in the city.


SANDS CYMRU accepts that not every drug user is ready for, or wants, to abstain completely from drugs or alcohol. We will always work with individuals and families to reduce any harm drugs or alcohol may cause them or other people.

Harm Reduction

SANDS CYMRU recognises that containment and reduction of drug related harm is a more feasible option than efforts to eliminate drug use entirely.

Harm reduction responses to drug use incorporate the notion of a hierarchy of goals, with the immediate focus on proactively engaging individuals, targeting groups, and communities to address their most compelling needs through the provision of accessible and user friendly services.

Achieving the most immediate realistic goals is viewed as an essential first step toward risk-free use, or, if appropriate, abstinence. The drug user's decision to use drugs is accepted as fact. No moral judgment is made either to condemn or to support use of drugs. The dignity and rights of the drug user are respected, and services endeavor to be ‘user friendly’ in the way they operate. Focuses on risks and harm: on the basis that by providing responses that reduce risk, harm can be reduced or avoided. Does not focus on abstinence: although harm reduction supports those who seek to moderate or reduce their drug use, it neither excludes nor presumes a treatment goal of abstinence. Harm reduction approaches recognise that short term abstinence oriented treatments have low success rates, and, for opiate users, high post-treatment overdose rates. Seeks to maximise the range of intervention options that are available.

Values & Beliefs

Our vision is that everyone affected by problem substance use has the right to health, dignity and respect.

  • We aim to enable people to reduce the harm that problem substance use causes.
  • We neither promote nor denounce problem substance use.
  • We recognise the potential of the people we work with.
  • We are committed to innovation.
  • We believe in rights and responsibilities.
  • We believe that people have fundamental rights.
  • We believe that with rights go responsibilities.
  • We treat all of the people who use our services with respect.
  • We aim to take a wider role in society.
  • We believe in partnership.
  • We aim to be open and accountable.
  • We strive to be a quality led organisation.
  • We have a local, national and international perspective


SANDS CYMRU provides a range of services in Wales. The nature and scope of the service depends on commissioners and funders and the specifications which we are contracted to work to.

Our services fall under the following headings:

  • Open Access / Drop in service
  • Young Persons Service: The Place
  • Family Service (Hidden Harm / Strengthening Family)
  • Tenancy Support
  • Campaigns: i.e Overdose & Naloxone, Mephedrone, Hepatitis,
  • Outreach
  • Young Offenders Service
  • Needle Exchange
  • LINKS (Education, Training and Employment project)
  • Health Promotion and Awareness Raising


For 25 years SANDS CYMRU leased premises which offered poor accommodation for both staff and service users. Due to a significant increase in the number of staff employed by SANDS CYMRU our premises at Calvert Terrace became too small and did not allow the Project to expand its services and the accommodation was not fit for purpose.

Due to the availability of capital grants from the Welsh Government and funding from the Big Lottery the Project secured £1.5m to purchase and renovate new premises in 2008.

Ty Roger Duncan, 73/74 Mansel Street has allowed the Project to improve and expand our service provision and give a more positive impression to service users, professionals and the wider community.