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 🙂
We are very proud of our participants at yesterday’s storytelling end of project celebration. Many thanks to Carl Gough from World of Connections, NIACE and Beyond The Border for providing these engaging and fun activities for us at UiD. We are very happy to have had so many people participating in the storytelling sessions and preparation lessons. Enormous respect for those that got up and told stories so well and importantly in a language other than their own. The outcomes have been fantastic with tangible evidence of improving English language skills and self-confidence. Something that has echoed throughout are the connections made between cultures and our collective love/need for stories. We have learnt so much about each other’s backgrounds, absolutely fantastic.
Many many thanks to all involved, especially the brave folks that got up and gave it their all at yesterday’s event. The feedback was excellent – we are very proud indeed.
Please take a moment to listen to participants at UiD talking about our current storytelling project.
A great storytelling workshop with Carl Gough and the folks at UiD this evening. An excellent vocabulary building exercise using our imaginations to populate a very interesting story of our own. The feedback from these activities has been very positive. Many see it as a way of bridging the gap of not only language, but culture also. We’ve learned many things about each other’s traditions and the similarities and shared respect for storytelling. Many people are now getting up and sharing their stories which is greatly enjoyed by the group. Please enjoy this visual summary 😉
The wonderful storytelling sessions continue at Unity in Diversity, facilitated by Carl Gough. Our folk love new vocabulary and the same goes for stories, which are strong traditions in many people’s country of origin (as well as our own). Lessons are provided on the subject matter in order for everyone to participate effectively and enjoyably.
Please see Carl in action telling the amazing “Ostara and the White Hare” story.
A great storytelling session this evening with Carl from ‘World of Connection‘. Preparation on Tuesday really paid off with lots of participation. Cautionary tales seemed to be the theme which was clearly familiar to all. A great team effort in recalling the stories step by step, clear evidence of a good understanding of the stories. Well done to the people that told their own stories.
We all know why dogs bark at buses now thanks to an amusing traditional Eritrean story.
An absolutely wonderful lesson provided by David and Vivien this evening in preparation for Thursday’s storytelling session with Carl from ‘World of Connection’. Fantastic vocabulary focus on words and concepts that were clearly resonant in the group’s own cultures, as well as our own. Stories were planned in small groups and then delivered in front of the class, assisted by bamboo canes, a bucket of earth, some bulbs and grass seeds amongst a few other things. After a lot of active planning we had several short stories. This was so much fun and we are delighted to see the readiness of people to stand up in front of a class and deliver a story, made by themselves – in English. We thank David and Viv for setting up the activities and ultimately the learners themselves who participated so enthusiastically. We are now geared-up for Carl’s session – can’t wait!