Some say’ a camel is a horse designed by a committee’ and ‘ too many cooks spoil the broth’ but HBTSR rely upon having many cooks, washer uppers and activity organisers and know that somehow they will all work happily together to make an absolutely wonderful day possible. The organising committee of Melrose, Alison, Tina, Jonnie, Mike and Penny excelled themselves again in arranging a day in Llangorse Community Hall coordinated by both Llangorse and Llanfihangel communities. Even the concerns about Covid19 were considered and planned for.
Thanuja in Swansea rose to the challenge of filling the coach and ensured that just over 53 people were able to enjoy a day of eating, talking, singing, dancing, making dream pillows, drawing, knitting and walking in the company of over 50 people from the local area. Everyone was well fed with copious amounts of delicious stews and salads and rice and flatbreads and just when they felt full to bursting there was cake in every conceivable shape and form. Even gluten free and vegan versions were available. And there was some to take home to enjoy later.
The hall was set up on Saturday thus allowing for a slightly more relaxed start on Sunday when food just kept appearing from welcoming residents and friends. Sue set up her dream pillows area and Avril and Helen came prepared to help with crafts as well. Ellen agreed to help and Kathy and children willingly volunteered to do face painting with Lynn’s paints. Yolanda came prepared to do hand massage and spent the whole day doing this apart from a short break when her therapy area became the prayer room.Niamh and Niall started a welcome banner that we hope will be added to on future days so that we have a hand-drawn banner with many languages wishing people a welcome. Jane set up the play area and the Crannog Ceilidh Band were with us to provide a cheering ceilidh.
On arrival from Swansea everyone was welcomed by Melrose and encouraged to read and act upon the Covid 19 leaflets that Neil had designed. We had sent copies by email and we had laid on extra supplies of handwash and paper towels. We practiced elbow taps , shoulder taps, foot taps, praying hands and head bows but before long we were all holding hands and swinging our partners and just hoping that we wouldn’t share anything but joy and happiness.
In addition to the crafts, childrens’ toys, football, chat and hand massage, a visit to St Paulinus Church and /or a walk to the lake were on offer after arrival drinks. The sun was shining as we set off. About 16 people came with Suzette, Roger, Sue, Tina , Rowland,Jane and Ailsa to the church where a small congregation was awaiting us and a small orchestra of cello, flute, recorder and key board played lovely music. We shared prayers for peace in a number of languages and danced in the aisles as we marvelled at the beautiful old building that for a short time gave sanctuary and hope to people from at least 7 different nations. Hearing the Lords Prayer in several languages and an Islamic blessing was a great experience.Many thanks to Rev Trina Lodge for arranging this and to the congregation for a warm welcome.
The official walk to the lake led by Colin, Wally and Martin was just returning as we left church and so knowing that lunch would take a while to serve, some of us went to check upon the size of the lake since recent flooding. A few photo opportunities arose and we only just made it back to lunch but sadly too late for the delicious flatbreads made by Alex…
With Lunch being digested, the dancing started in earnest and it was lovely to see so many people having fun together. As always the beautiful music of the Crannog Ceilidh band complimented the calling by Di and despite many not knowing their right from their left or their dozy doe from a promenade , everyone had fun. A football game went on most of the afternoon for those who claimed to have 2 left feet. After the dancing there was some singing and some individual dances before the cakes were shared. One lady felt inspired to get up and sing a beautiful African song and afterwards she said this was completely out of character for her but she just felt she had to do it.
It was wonderful to see friendships being renewed, being made and experiences shared and for a while bad memories fading into the background.
The kitchen team of Alison, Penny, Tina, Tim, Val, Robert, Alex, Claire, Jonnie, Mike, Lynne,Rhiannon, and many others were busy throughout the day and their efforts were much appreciated. We were asked and able to supply some individual bags of goods for people to take home thanks to Derek from Hay Deli and many donations from Llangorse school and local residents of Llangorse and Llanfihangel. There was a car full of goods that went with Maria and Phil to share at the drop in groups as well as the individual bags .
THANKS to Melrose, Alison, Tina, Jonnie, Penny and Mike for coordination and hard work. To their teams of helpers including Val, Tim, Allie, Lynne, Rhiannon, Claire, Robert and Lawrence .
To Alex, Kathy and family for flatbread creation and face painting.
To Sue B for Dream pillows- Draw your hopes for the future onto the pillow slip and sleep on it and who knows it may just come true.
To Avril , Helen and Ellen for crafts.
To Yolanda for hand massage
To Colin, Wally and Martin for leading the walk.
To Rev Trina Lodge and Kelvin Richards for the multi faith and multi lingual service and to the congregation for waiting for us and welcoming us.
To Jane for use of her playpen and toys.
To Philip and his band of welcomers including Margaret and Lawrence
To The Crannog Ceilidh band for giving us such a great time that no one wanted to leave…
To all of the many people who made cakes, biscuits, stews and salads – everything was appreciated..[ so amazing to have Vegan and Gluten free cakes…this allowed several people to eat cake who wouldn’t otherwise have had a chance]
To the kind donors of gifts and foods- these will make life just a bit better. Its hard to stockpile even a little extra on £36 a week.
To Claire and John from The Shop in Talgarth thanks for giving us a good deal on fruit and thanks to Sarah for her generosity.
To Derek from the Delicatessen in Hay for the enormous sacks of Rice, Cous cous and Bulgar wheat and the large amount of spices that were much appreciated by our visitors and will be seized upon with great enthusiasm by people at the drop ins.
Thanks to Thanu for all her hard work that ensured the coach was full and that every family and every single person had a gift bag. And as always thanks to Maria and Phil for their help and support and for transporting a car laden with gifts for people back in Swansea.
Finally thanks to everyone [ both locals and visitors] who came to make such a lovely day possible and so memorable.
Thanks from visitors
It is our 1st outing with family, it’s very very good outing & memorable.Thanks everyone for giving this opportunity.Thanks a lot. X
On Sunday 9 th March, in the pouring rain, a very full bus left Swansea heading for Llangorse in Powys , everyone looking forward to a ’ Welcome Day’ hosted by HBTSR. There were a lot of new asylum seekers who were experiencing a day like this for the first time and they were not disappointed. There were also some ‘old favourites’ who are welcomed as long lost friends by familiar, friendly faces who remember their names and exude warmth and welcome.
These special days are delivered seamlessly- a mixture of many years’ experience, a lot of hard work and a tremendous amount of team spirit. It was wonderful to see the ‘core’ team and also to meet many new supporters who couldn’t fail but to be impressed by what was on offer.
Having worked with asylum seekers and refugees for over six years now, I still acknowledge that it takes some courage for newcomers to initially attend an event which, especially in the middle of Wales, is unique. Many kind hearted people may wish us well, but may understandably feel uncertain and/or unconfident as to how they will communicate with a group of people who are , on the whole, traumatised,
sad, anxious, speak another language, come from another culture and practise a different religion.
I believe and very much hope that anyone that attended this event on Sunday would
be overwhelmed by the warmth, the character, the dignity and poise, the gratitude
and ability to enjoy that would have been witnessed.
All children had a wonderful time. If children have a wonderful time, then so do their
parents! The venue was ideal and there was plenty of room to move around. Face
painting and craft work were very popular and there were many toys for younger
children to interact with. Thank you to everyone who was involved in this.
After welcome drinks and snacks, Melrose explained the order of the day.
The morning’s activities included a walk to the lake, a walk to the church and football.
Having visited the lake previously, I opted for the visit to the local church. We
received a very warm welcome and were nicely surprised that a short service had
been arranged. The service was perfect. It was added to by local musicians who
kindly gave their time. Colouring pages were provided which were appreciated by a
group of young boys who simultaneously coloured and impressed us with their
dancing . They also sang along enthusiastically to ‘Make me a channel of your
peace’. The vicar invited prayers from people in the own languages. It was
incredibly moving to witness, very shy people slowly rise and pray in their own
language. One of these was a Muslim man, one an orthodox Christian, a lady from
Georgia and another from Zimbabwe. Afterwards, we walked around the interior of
the church and on the walk back there was much ‘networking’ with locals about
people’s lives and help available. Thank you to all who contributed in any way to this.
At around 1.30 a sumptuous feast was served to all. Alex was preparing and cooking
the famous flatbreads which were still warm. It seemed as if there was a choice of
dozens of delicious dishes to try, along with salads and a vast range of other
accompaniments. People chatted with old friends and made new ones. Thank you to all who turned up early to prepare, cooked, washed up or cleared away the empty dishes.
During much of this time, we were loading up our car with an array of useful donated
items. These included much needed and appreciated toiletries, sanitary items, tinned
and packet foods, fresh eggs and a very large, kind donation of neatly bagged
couscous, bulgar wheat and different spices. Thank you to all who contributed,
especially the owner of Hay Delicatessen. Each family and single person went home
with a bag of donations. This makes a huge difference to these people, most living
on around £36 a week.
A fantastic Ceilidh was the order of the afternoon. It looked great fun and many
joined in and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Thank you to all the talented musicians
and Di who led the dancing.
Drinks and homemade cakes were fell upon and any leftovers taken home. Thanks
to all who contributed to this. I am a great believer that to cook or bake for someone
else is to show love.
A group of very contented, well fed men, women and children from all over the world,
fleeing from Iraq, Syria, Russia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Georgia, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Sudan , Albania and Kurdistan left a small Welsh village-Llangorse- on Sunday at
5pm, after a day of enjoying ‘normal’ activities and feeling wanted. I am in no doubt
that this will have given them strength for the week ahead.
Thank you to Thanu, who took responsibility for organising the ‘list’, to Melrose and
the kitchen team, to Ailsa who is always being competent and lovely in the
background ( and for providing grandchildren to keep the football going) and to every single individual who did anything to make this day the success it was. Its positive effect cannot be overestimated.
With grateful thanks and best wishes
Maria, Phil, Thanu and all from Swansea