The Welsh Refugee Council provides a twice weekly, family group at Trinity through a project funded by BBC Children in Need. The project has been running since 2009 and currently works with children and young people living within the refugee and asylum system. The children have often witnessed traumatic events, suffered loss and have lived in fear. Typically, the children that we see are isolated, fearful and have little or no access to play.
Bronia Conway - Play Development Manager
I was given the job of setting up the project in 2009, following a career in Early Years Education. My overall aim, throughout, has been to create an atmosphere of fun in a welcoming, safe space. I run groups in Cardiff in partnership with Trinity Centre and in Newport, working with Red Cross and Sanctuary Project. I try to offer a wide range of activities which the children have an opportunity to access at many levels. All of the sessions have the potential to have new arrivals and whilst I want to promote a feeling of fun I have to always be mindful of those children who are feeling overwhelmed. By monitoring the play itself I use the experiences of each child to inform my practice and create better spaces in which they feel safe and have the confidence to explore. Last year the project worked with 350 children at 160 play sessions.
Meryl Hoffer – Play Work Assistant
I have worked at the project in Cardiff since 2010. I am also a Lead Volunteer at Space 4 U and I work with a number of charities, providing support for Asylum Seeking families in the city. My work at the Children’s Group is based around child development and play. I am also involved in the broader aspects of the children’s lives, working with parents to encourage engagement in other activities, provide clothing and essential equipment. I have recently completed training in Brain Development and its effect on the bonding process.