It has been an unsettling few weeks with the EU referendum and subsequent chaos and uncertainty as 51.9% of British voters chose to exit the European Union, whose motto interestingly is ‘United in Diversity’. Since then there has been a significant rise in racist outbursts and attacks on non-UK nationals.
It is for this reason we had a whole-group session last week to discuss the referendum and how to stay safe and find support. We were able to inform people of the commitment of local bodies that offer to help report/deal with race hate crimes in our area. Those that offer support include; EYST, Swansea University, University of Wales Trinity St David, Gower College Swansea and Swansea Bay Racial Equality Council. We concluded with information on the upcoming Airshow to make people aware of what’s happening and when. We were also able to inform people of some nice free public events being held in Swansea over the summer.
Thanks to the hard work of David, our very kind volunteer English teacher and treasurer we are now a fully registered charity. This empowers us to apply for funding and support for the work we love to do. We are so happy to be formalised as a charity after our difficult upheaval last March due to Cyrenians Cymru going into administration. It has been a steep learning curve for many of us and there has been much development as a result.
Shortly after receiving news of our charity status we were informed that our joint bid with Swansea Bay Asylum Seeker Support group (SBASSG) for a ‘New Beginnings Fund’ was successful. We greatly look forward to cooperating ‘officially’ with SBASSG who we work closely with in supporting asylum seekers and refugees in the Swansea area.
Finally, we are very happy indeed to receive an award for being an ‘Organisation of Sanctuary’ kindly presented by the wonderful team at Swansea City of Sanctuary at their ‘Meaningful Activities for Asylum Seekers and Refugees’ workshop. We are very proud to stand alongside such organisations as EYST, Swansea Council for Voluntary Service and the African community centre, empowered by our shared passion to support people.
Unity in Diversity is run entirely by volunteers and without their very kind help and determination we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do. It is with a glad heart that we thank you all for your hard work and dedication, the feedback we get for the service we provide is always of the highest order and it’s all thanks to our amazing team.
Much appreciation to supporting organisations that continually help us in our work. Many thanks to;
- Rosie, Neil and everyone at the United Reformed Church for their kind guidance, help and our wonderful drop-in venue.
- Food for Life Wales for keeping everyone fed and happy with their wonderful food.
- SCVS (Swansea Council for Voluntary Service) for their vital support every step of the way on our journey to where we are now.
- Swansea City of Sanctuary for their support, recognition of our work, promotion of our group and all the information put our way regarding funding opportunities and available activities.
- Nina and the team at CATCH (Cwmtawe Action To Combat Hardship) for all the donations and for regularly popping in to see what people need.
- Ailsa, Sean and everyone at Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees for being such a wonderful partner organisation and for providing so much support, cash donations, fantastic ICT equipment, food, household items and the amazing respite trips and volunteering opportunities that so many of our friends enjoy.
- Hiraeth Hope for their amazing respite trips and volunteer opportunities.
- The English Language Training Services department of Swansea University for providing qualified volunteer English teachers for the last 6 years.
- Red Café Mumbles for their ongoing support and linked activities.
- Caer Las furniture scheme for providing volunteer opportunities and a sense of purpose for many of our members.
- And to all those who help us in our work who we’ve failed to mention.
Onward and Upward 🙂
Many thanks indeed to the Swansea’s kind Sudanese community for providing such engaging and informative activities at Unity in Diversity.
What a wonderful evening of traditional poetry, music, dance and participatory drama where we all learned of the conflicts in Sudan and difficulties faced as an asylum seeker or refugee in your new home. Many issues were addressed and there were many clear messages of positivity demonstrated articulately and effectively through drama. An incredibly well-planned event with the clear objective of promoting cohesion and personal development within the community. We are very proud to host such a dynamic program, devised and delivered by our community members themselves.
We are very happy to report that our first session in Food Safety Coaching went very well last night with 30 keen participants present. This session focused on effective hand-washing when planning to handle food. Please see the slideshow for details and information on the following 6 sessions on this course.
Click Here for Full-Screen View of the Slideshow
Click Here for Full-Screen View of the Slideshow
The Welcome to Swansea scheme is a brand new project which aims to provide a warm welcome to sanctuary seekers when they first arrive in Swansea.
Sanctuary seekers will be met by a volunteer mentor who will introduce them to places, people and groups. The purpose of the scheme is to promote integration and ensure that sanctuary seekers are able to meet their aspirations in their new home.
We are looking for volunteers. If you feel you’ve got what it takes to make a crucial difference at a pivotal point in someone’s life then please contact us.
We will be holding training sessions for volunteer mentors at the following times and places:
- Thursday 6th August 9:30am -1:30pm. Swansea Council for Voluntary Service (see map)*
- Tuesday 11th August. 4:30pm to 6pm. Unity in Diversity Swansea (see map)
- Tuesday 13th August. 4:30pm to 6pm. Unity in Diversity Swansea (see map)
- Tuesday 1st September. 9:30am -1:30pm. Swansea Council for Voluntary Service (see map)*
* bus fares refunded for these sessions
Please contact Hannah to sign up or to find out more.
Phone: 07496 172896
The “Welcome to Swansea” project started in 2015 and is part of the City of Sanctuary movement. The staff are employed by Displaced People in Action.
We aim to welcome refugees and asylum seekers and promote their well-being.
What does a mentor do?
A mentor is a trained volunteer who supports people to access the things that they want and need to be doing. For instance they might:
- Demonstrate bus routes.
- Show affordable places to shop.
- Give information on health and social care services.
- Support people to find social and leisure activities.
- Support people to find training and volunteering opportunities.
The mentoring process aims to support a person to become as independent as possible. The relationship is a short, but powerful one.
Could you give someone a warm Swansea welcome?
If so then why not become a volunteer mentor?
Mentors provide a crucial service at an important time in people’s lives. Many asylum seekers who arrive in Swansea may not know the place, systems…and most importantly the people. Having a friendly face to provide a welcome can make all the difference.
Who can become a mentor?
Anyone can become a mentor. We particularly welcome applications from people who have experience of seeking sanctuary or who live in areas close to Sanctuary seekers.
We do ask for some skills and attributes which are outlined in the role description.
What does it cost?
Nothing! The project is free to volunteers. We will also pay for bus fares and other expenses when you are volunteering with us.
The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to him his own.
How do I get involved?
If you would like to get involved or find out more then please contact us. We will be very happy to talk to you.
What is involved?
The project involves 3 stages:
- Initial induction and training period: Where we find out a bit about you and tell you about the scheme.
- Regular sessions with a participant: There will usually be between 2 and 8 sessions. They usually last 2-4 hours each.
- An evaluation session: to see how useful it has been and how we can improve.
We offer you the opportunity to mentor as often as you like.
Our Swansea office is at SCVS (see map). Please feel free to drop in and see us!
Owing to growing popularity of UiD FC we now have large numbers of people showing up and playing at our training sessions and matches.
Our coach is very concerned that with the large numbers attending people may not get as much out of it as they’d like. He is asking for help/support.
This is an ideal opportunity for someone with an interest in meeting people from diverse cultures and football coaching.
We have 2 training sessions a week, 2 hours on a Sunday and 2 hours on a Wednesday evening
If you or anyone you know is interested in football coaching and its benefits/social outcomes for this group of people please contact the UiD coach, Martin.
phone: 07932 400995
Additionally, we’d be very grateful for donations of any football equipment whatsoever also.
A wonderful turnout at last week’s consultation event. The Welsh refugee council kindly provided an opportunity for people to express their concerns and ideas. This was greatly valued by the participants.
I am happy to have the opportunity to talk about the problems my family face in a way that we feel comfortable and safe.
There were many important areas discussed and the general feeling that although things can’t be improved immediately it was comforting to know that this will help people in the future.
Many thanks to the Welsh refugee council for providing the chance for people to be heard – it was greatly valued.
Very well done to our wonderful translators who ultimately allowed those without English language skills to have their say and to understand discussions.
Further gratitude goes to Hannah from Swansea city of Sanctuary for her kind help.
Please note that images are shared with express permission from those pictured.
Printable Poster -> UiD-WRC Focus group event
We are very happy to announce that the Welsh Refugee Council will be holding a focus group at the UiD community drop-in. As directed by Welsh Government, the WRC will consult with asylum seekers and refugees living in the Swansea area in order to; understand people’s experiences of living in Wales, discuss any barriers faced and to suggest what Welsh Government should prioritise in terms of areas of inequality.
Day/Date: Thursday 4th June 2015
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Address: UiD Community Drop-in, Caepistyll St, Waun Wen, Swansea. SA1 2BE
Since devising an on-line directory of services for supporting asylum seekers and refugees in the Swansea area we’ve had a wonderful response from other organisations in Swansea. The directory is developing quickly – it’s always worth checking-in occasionally to see what new services are on offer. There have been 4 services added in the last week!
We found that the web version works well on larger machines like desktop computers, large screen tablets and laptops. Unfortunately it seemed very difficult to use on smaller devices like smartphones.
To address this we now have an on-line app specifically for smaller devices. The power to find, or refer people to needed help can easily live in your pocket.
We greatly welcome feedback or information to help us continually improve the directory.
The “UiD M-app” can be accessed through the web browser on your mobile device. All you need to do is bookmark the page 🙂
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