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A splendid day at Cradoc School of Sanctuary!

‘A little bit of Heaven on Earth’ ‘Christmas came early to Cradoc’
Well, we certainly did have another splendid day at Cradoc school of Sanctuary. We were blessed by the weather that changed after  a very damp Saturday to  a beautiful sunny Sunday  and we were able to do the walk that was planned for earlier in the year! It was however the warmth of the welcome, the friendliness and generosity that overwhelmed so many of us. The school entrance was again filled with toiletries and groceries, the library stuffed full of clothes and bedding, a small classroom full of toys and tables with people ready to do cake decorating, clay modelling, paper weaving, jewellery making, Christmas decorations manufacture and face-painting. The footballs were ready outside and yet again there was so much delicious food and almost every variety of cake known in this part of Wales. On top of this, School governors, Teachers, Support staff, Parents and children turned out in their droves to be present and to ensure that everyone was made to feel at home and comfortable. Yet again it was wonderful to see so many children in school on a Sunday having such fun and so very good of the hard worked teachers to give up a valuable day off to be in ensuring that the pupils and visitors had a time to remember.
The entramce hall starting to fill up with goodies, The signs made by pupils, Sorting clothing, sorting toys, preparing the tables for breakfast.
The handmade welcome signs in the entrance hall added to the sense that the visit was not just meticulously planned but also eagerly anticipated. The sheer volume of donations added to this feeling and throughout the day people called in with further donations and with beaming smiles.
Inspirational signs in the school, Katy, mum and friend and Margaret at the front of the school
In many ways this was also a more relaxed and relaxing day than the first one earlier this year. ‘We’ve done it before and we can do it again’ and everyone seemed to know what was wanted and needed at strategic points during the day. Some of the visitors had been before so could show others around and some just wanted to sit and chat whilst the children were busy with the many crafts on offer.
 all the various crafts
It was lovely to see so many people chatting and getting to know each other and to watch children just doing things together. One shy 12 year old came to drop his sister off and stayed to play football for hours with people that rapidly became friends. A cathedral  choir member called in and was able to do a bit of craft, have a light lunch and lead the walk up the Crug with her friends before dashing back down in time for evensong!
 People watching the football, Jez and Wayne double act, photos from the walk with a gathering at the trig point.
Did I mention the food? Yet again the Kitchen team very ably led by Jackie surpassed themselves. People arrived to Tea and freshly brewed Coffee with biscuits and cakes and home made bread and lunch followed soon after with vegetable curry, dahl, chilli, chicken stew, salads and rice and jacket potatoes and Fruit and then tea and cake.
the kitchen team , Caroline delivering bread and cakes, A table of Albanian ladies and children who had a great picnic.
There was time for a few jokes -Stuart hung up his cloths to dry on the windscreen wiper, Wayne tried to hijack the bus and then demonstrated how to use a festive sick bag!
Then all too soon it was time to leave. People reluctantly filed towards the bus but carrying large amounts of new clothing and toys. Three little boys who had played together most of the day were in tears to see their new friend get on the bus. Others ran after the bus and alongside until they couldn’t keep up.
And we went back to finish tidying to find that tables and chairs had been put away by our guests and Steve was sweeping and mopping the floor. We said goodbye to our newest volunteer who had come as part of her Duke of Edinburgh scheme and ran the pottery table. She had no links to the school and we were so impressed by her gentle manner, beautiful sculptures and her confidence. We look forward to seeing Nena again.
And perhaps the last word should go to the school
So many thanks to Judith and Beth, Head and Deputy, Staff, Governors, Parents and Pupils and Neighbours for a wonderful day out and for so much kindness. Thanks also to all our usual supporters who  came and helped and had a great time. Thanks also to Aldi who gave us vegetables and flowers that will  help to make delicious meals for people in need during the next week.Thaks also to Carolines’s bakery for the delicious bread rolls and the cakes to decorate.
FROM Maria
hello folks,
We have just returned from a wonderful day of respite ( autumnal sunshine provided) at the charming Cradoc Primary School. Around fifty people seeking sanctuary from all over the world, who live in the city of Swansea, enjoyed the hospitality provided by staff, governors, parents and children of this lovely rural school. They were joined by many members of Hay,Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees who liaised with the school, paid for transport,
offered familiarity, ongoing friendship and support and bags of ‘goodies’ to share out.
Thanks to all who organised ,shopped, prepared,cooked, washed up, made tea and coffee, provided donations, supported the school by bringing their children along, offered their time and skill to provide activities,or showed a face and smiled or chatted with our friends. It really means so much.
We are writing to say thank you on behalf of our friends who often tell us that the words “thank you” do not sufficiently describe their gratitude.
Our country, especially our cities,are becoming increasingly diverse. Many recognise the richness and advantages of diversity, others are fearful of it and this fear often manifests itself as prejudice. Such prejudice causes unknown amounts of anguish. We believe that educating our children and leading by example can help. Engaging with, and socialising with people of all races, religions and cultures enables us all, but especially our young people to realise that we are all similar. We all have hopes and fears, we all feel the same emotions of pain, loneliness, sadness, happiness, love and excitement. We all need to feel valued, wanted , to belong and make a positive contribution to society.
By organising this wonderful day, Cradoc School has put into action their vision of ” developing a caring attitude with self respect and respect for others” in their children. We thank you for this , the good it will do cannot be overestimated.
Today’s guests were a mixture of two parent and one parent families, young single people,older single people and those hoping to reunite with their spouses in the future. All have their own unique challenges and set of circumstances. “Stress” is a word that is always on their lips. The
‘ need’ is immense and unending. Yet, today was an opportunity  to forget their worries for a short time and to experience ‘ normality.
Parents were overjoyed that their children were safe, occupied and happy. This makes them happy. The single people all mention how Sunday is usually a long boring day, with too much time to think and fret.
N from Iraq, mum of three boys looked more relaxed than I have seen her for a long time. She says all day every day she cooks, cleans, washes, shops and cares for her boys in a small flat. Today, she says, she can relax and enjoy food being made for her. Her boys are occupied and the clothes she was able to take home would help a great deal. She enjoyed sitting alone and listening to people speaking English. She says she listens and learns.
C and her husband from China have four children under six. They explained that the only place they can go with all the children is the city centre. They were so delighted to be guests today and so appreciative of the warm welcome, delicious food and donated items, which will help a lot. The children were full of fun and especially enjoyed the face painting. We were able to signpost them to our Saturday afternoon group which may benefit the family. They told us a few heartbreaking examples of abuse they had suffered, how they want to work and not rely on benefits. How lovely for this family to feel the warm welcome offered today.
The group of Albanian women and their children thoroughly enjoyed a day when they could be distracted from their worries. They could spend time together speaking in their own language and also engage with others and improve their English. They were delighted with their natural ‘ Christmas creations’. One lady mentioned that her family never celebrated anything, but this had made her want to start to celebrate Christmas.
M and his family from Lebanon have only been in Swansea for a few weeks. This was their first respite experience. His children have not yet been allocated a school place, they have no furniture or television and are bored being at home all the time. The family asked for their thanks and appreciation to be passed to those who organised the day.
The food was, as ever, plentiful, wholesome and tasty. Lots of goodies were taken home by today’s guests but also a load of toiletries and food was given to us volunteers to donate to those who weren’t able to come today.
We were aware of the presence of many kind hearted and generous spirited people, some familiar, some not, who chatted to our friends or involved them in activities, or just showed an interest and actively listened. The atmosphere was comfortable, companionable, relaxed and inviting ( although those slaving in the kitchen may not have felt this way!)
To each and every man,woman and child who contributed in any way whatsoever towards this successful day- THANK YOU SO MUCH – you helped around fifty people, far from home, family and friends to feel welcomed and wanted.
We are loathe to mention individuals but cannot sign off without special thanks to Beth Roberts and her supportive headteacher Mrs Morris. Cradoc school children are fortunate to attend a school that “practises what it preaches”.
Wayne, Maria & Phil
(UiD and SASS)
On behalf of all who attended Cradoc School today with grateful thanks.
谢谢.           Shukraan        Sipas ji were       
Faleminderit.           Merci beaucoup
Diolch yn fawr.              متشکرم.

N: the trips are very good for us, we get to practice English we really need. I like listen because I learn. Our children are very happy to play and I can relax. The food and the donations are very helpful for us.

C: I never have the opportunity to take my kids away, they are so excited to play all day, usually we can only walk around the local city centre. It makes us very happy

Comments from the School

‘a fun day, lots of things to do, everyone was really nice and wanted to make friends with everyone’.

‘I miss my new friend!’

‘Amazing day, I enjoyed playing football with our visitors, they were really good!’

‘I was really tearful when they left’.

‘I was happy to see the smiles on their faces’.

‘I made new friends’