Blog Archives

Onward and Upward @ UiD

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.

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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.

reg charity

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.

UK-Community-Foundation-ukcf-logo

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.

scos award july 2016

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 🙂

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Free English Classes at Swansea University – July 2016

Posted on behalf of Swansea University’s ELTS department

Dear Swansea Community Members

ELTS offers free English Language Classes to any non-native speaker of English in the local area at Pre-intermediate level or above via our Teacher Training programme. There does not need to be any connection to the University.

The basic details are below:

Free English Language Classes

Monday 4th July to Friday 29th July 2016

Monday to Friday  10:00 a.m. – 12:00

Classes at three levels: pre-intermediate, intermediate, and upper-intermediate.

We will hold drop-in registration sessions for new students as follows:

Thursday 30th June and Friday 1st July

Margam Building 3rd Floor 9-3pm

Students with additional queries should contact:

p.l.neville@swansea.ac.uk or e.main@swansea.ac.uk

While we try to accommodate all who wish to attend, pre-registered students will have priority if numbers reach our class limits.

Please encourage any non-native speaker of English who you feel could benefit from classes to attend, and distribute this information to any suitable person inside or outside the university. The classes are a good mix of international students, and they will be made very welcome.

I regret that we are not able to reimburse travel expenses.

Many thanks

Peter Neville

ELTS Swansea University

 

Storytelling – feedback from participants

Please take a moment to listen to participants at UiD talking about our current storytelling project. 

NEWS!! Protection Gap campaign demands and Home Office action points

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • in front of her children

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office will consider options for provision of childcare in areas in which it is currently not available (London, Glasgowand Liverpool).

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • to a male interviewer or interpreter if she is not comfortable with this

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, from now on a female interviewer is guaranteed if requested in advance of the interview ie at screening. Until now this has been in Home Office guidance but has not been guaranteed in practice.

The Home Office will develop a script for screeners to ensure women understand the significance of having a choice of interviewer.

The Home Office will consult the Interpreters Unit about recruiting more female interpreters. They will also consider using video conferencing although Charter supporters do not think this is appropriate for sensitive interviews.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • to someone who doesn’t understand how trauma affects memory

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office has included information about trauma and memory as well as a case study about rape in its training on the assessment of credibility for its caseworkers to be rolled out from April 2015.  Any relevant training material from the College of Policing will also be included.  In addition they will take forward training on sexual violence and trauma for interpreters.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • without being given counselling

For the past two years Charter supporters UNHCR, Refugee Council and Scottish Refugee Council have been working with the Home Office to develop access to counselling for women who have experienced sexual violence.

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, from May 2015 women who disclose sexual violence at screening in Croydon will be signposted to organisations that provide counselling.  If this is successful, there will be a national rollout from Sept 2015.

If funding permits, women who disclose sexual violence at their initial interview will be referred Dear colleague,

Now that we have completed the postcard phase of the Protection Gap campaign, I am writing to update you on our impact.  We were thrilled that so many of you promoted the campaign with such enthusiasm.  This has meant that the campaign’s reach has been much further than we anticipated.

Through the campaign 1223 postcards were sent to MPs with a message to Theresa May, the Home Secretary.  The postcards were presented to Baroness Helena Kennedy by representatives of the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group and the Evelyn Oldfield Unit who were involved in setting up the campaign with Asylum Aid.  During this phase (8th December 2014 to 10th March 2015) Charter supporters were involved in lobbying Home Office officials and parliamentarians and obtained online and print media coverage.

These initiatives resulted in the Home Office reviewing its Women’s Asylum Action Plan.  The Action Plan was originally set up as a result of the Charter of Rights of Women Seeking Asylum.  We were very excited to see the new Action Plan which was produced just this week.  We are sure you’ll be as pleased as we are to find that the new Home Office Women’s Asylum Action Plan included all of the Protection Gap demands. The details linking the campaign demands and the Home Office action points are below.  And do look at our full update about the campaign activities and successes.

So what happens next?

A number of Charter supporters will be monitoring the Action Plan through existing Home Office stakeholder mechanisms.  But turning promises into actual provisions that women seeking asylum can benefit from will require continued pressure.  The intention has always been to continue the campaign until these measures are in place. With the coming general election, lobbying work has to be put on hold.  However once a new Government is in place we will be in contact again asking for your continued help in the Charter campaign to close the Protection Gap.

In the meantime, it would be incredibly helpful at this stage if you could let me know about your activities in promoting the Protection Gap campaign and also your feedback on the campaign itself.  This will help us in planning the next phase.

Finally I want to congratulate everyone on being part of a campaign that has demonstrated how much progress we can make if we all work together and to thank you very much for your involvement.

Best wishes,

Debora Singer

Policy and Research Manager

Asylum Aid

Debora.singer@asylumaid.org.uk

020 7354 9631 x208
To a specific organisation that provides counselling.  A six month pilot will be followed by national rollout.

We believe that no woman seeking asylum should have to tell her story:

  • without information about her rights as a woman in the asylum system

Due to the Protection Gap campaign, the Home Office will review information provided to women about their rights in the asylum system including their current information and information about the signposting arrangements (above).

Workers Education Association

ESOL/ICT learners with the WEA

The Unity in Diversity group has been helping people for over 5 years now. We are very happy with successes in helping people, that said this would not be possible at all without the kind help of organisations like the WEA.WEA CYMRU logo

The WEA has helped many many of our friends learn English (ESOL) as well as other subjects including ICT. Participating and receiving accreditation benefits the people we support in numerous ways, not only in speaking English etc.

Being able to communicate in the place where you live is a clear priority that leads to access to other services and communities. Other important outcomes are; having a sense of purpose, doing something constructive rather than being isolated and worrying about things, being able to populate a CV and having the ability to show the authorities that the individual is making relevant steps in their own development.

The courses provided are especially helpful as ESOL provision at local colleges is often booked up very quickly and enrolments are restricted to the academic year. The WEA offers classes all year round which helps us to get people in to active learning as soon as possible.

If you wish to study, or you know someone who would benefit from learning with the WEA you can visit their website here -> http://www.weacymru.org.uk/

SBREC

For those who wish to study ESOL amongst other courses, visit the Swansea Bay Racial Equality council on the 3rd Floor in Grove House, Grove Place, Swansea, West Glamorgan SA1 5DF. Telephone: 01792 457035. Website: http://www.sbrec.org.uk/

First Aid Training – More Sessions!!

firstaid

Following an incredible amount of interest shown in the British Red Cross First Aid sessions we now have a second training planned.

We are very happy and grateful to have such engaging and relevant workshops and training available to the UiD members following our recent upheaval and transition. The folks at UiD have voted with their feet on this course which is obviously very relevant to them.

Many thanks to Liam O’Sullivan at British Red Cross for making this wonderful provision available.

Thanks to the Caer Las Furniture Scheme

Caer Las Furniture Scheme (Formerly Cyrenians Furniture Scheme and Res-a-rec) provides a service to people in need of low cost second-hand recycled furniture in South Wales. (Please find full information from the Caer Las website below)

As we move on as an independent group it’s important to remember the vital and ongoing support we’ve had over the years and we would like to thank the Caer Las Furniture Scheme for their welcoming approach, and the much needed opportunity for our community members to have an inclusive and ‘purposeful’ existence at a time when their lives can be fraught with debilitating stress and crushing uncertainty. We have witnessed time after time the transformation of isolated and scared individuals into those who are empowered by having a functional role and opportunities to meet and make friends, and of course this all greatly improves the acquisition of the English language. It has always been very encouraging to get the excellent feedback from Brian at the scheme and this helps us to remember what assets people really are. Thanks for your support and for sharing our vision.

The UiD team

Caer Las Furniture Scheme

(Formerly Cyrenians Furniture Scheme and Res-a-rec)

Open Monday – Saturday 9.00 am – 4.30pm

  • Recycled furniture
  • Second hand furniture
  • House clearance
  • House removals
  • Attic clearance
  • Deliveries
  • A­ffordable prices

We collect*, free of charge, good quality, used

  • Furniture
  • Carpets
  • White Goods

* subject to inspection and terms and conditions

Collection appointments are available Monday to Saturday, from 11am – 4pm.

We provide the following affordable services

  • House Removals
  • House Clearance
  • Attic Clearance

We offer Low cost Furniture sales & deliveries from our store

Why not visit our online gallery of past and current stock on Facebook

Terms and Conditions

Items accepted

We accept donations of good quality furniture, household items, clothes/fabrics/shoes, carpets /rugs, electrical items & white goods (see below).

All items must be clean, and in a saleable condition.

Unfortunately we are unable to accept dirty or damaged items.

All furniture with upholstery must have a fire safety label, for us to consider it for donation.

White Goods

We accept donations of white goods and electrical items.

All items must be clean and in full working order.

We have a team of qualified staff, who carry out P.A.T tests upon these items before they are sold.

Collections 

All our collections and house clearances are carried out by our experienced team.

Bookings are made in person at the warehouse, or by phone.

We aim to allocate an appointment within 4 days.

Collection appointments are available Monday to Saturday, from 11am – 4pm.

Clearances and Removals

The Caer Las Furniture Scheme offers an affordable house move service for Swansea and the surrounding areas.

Prices start at £75 per hour or part hour. 

For this price, we supply at least two experienced staff to load/unload our van, and move your belongings to your new home.

Unfortunately we cannot provide boxes or a packing service. We aim to allocate customers an appointment within 7 days of enquiry.

Please call us on 01792 653553 for more information or contact us online.

Our trained staff and volunteers can also provide a thorough and professional house clearance, attic clearance services. For more information and pricing please phone 01792 653553 or use our contact form and we will phone you back as soon as possible.

HOW TO FIND US?

The Cyrenians Furniture Scheme
Hafod Yard
1333 Neath Road
Swansea
SA1 2LF

01792 653553

cfs@caerlas.org

Directions

On Neath Road, Hafod, Swansea SA1 2LF (whether from the Morfa Roundabout or coming from city centre, turn at traffic lights onto Bendy Bus Lane, then turn left.

Opening Hours and Sales information

We are open to the public for sales Mon- Sat 9am – 4:30pm.

We accept cash payments only.

It is possible to reserve items for a small cash deposit.

The Caer Las Furniture Scheme can provide a delivery service
(only for larger items of furniture) – our minimum delivery charge is £20.

We deliver to Swansea and the surrounding areas.

We aim to deliver to customers, within 4 days of purchase.