“Not too hot,or too cold, nor too wet or too dry- just right; a really great day!
18/8 /2021 By Margaret Blake
The sound of laughter rang out across the grounds of Craig y Nos Country Park as
seventy men, women and children had the opportunity to relax together in a ‘grand picnic’
in the August sunshine and gentle rain. These refugees and asylum seekers, currently
housed in Swansea and Newport, were the guests of the Brecon Beacons National Park
Authority and the Hay, Brecon, and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees group (HBTSR). They
came by coach, mini-bus and public transport for a day of simple relaxation in beautiful
surroundings and were met with a warm welcome, smiles and refreshments. All together,
with HBTSR supporters, Park staff and volunteers and the guests, a gloriously diverse
group of about eight-five people enjoyed each other’s company..
In no time at all, with shrieks of joy, women were playing a game of volley ball, which was
then followed by a mixed-age game of football as young men happily played a group of
under twelves. Apparently, the children won! Park staff and volunteers led a guided walk
which was really enjoyed by all; such a change from their everyday environment. The river,
streams, trees and lake were much admired by everyone, whilst a trio of boys, aged 8 – 10,
were fascinated by their encounter with nature. The gnarled branches of the rhododendron
tunnel seem tailor-made for little boys to scramble around in, whilst the ducks on the lake
amazed them with their synchronised ‘upending’ as they dabbled for food just below the
surface. The boys’ stream of endless questions, (“What’s that?’Why that?),” were all
patiently and expertly answered by a member of the ‘Criw Craggy” team.
A splendid picnic lunch, served by the HBTSR volunteers offered plenty of healthy food,
bread, hummus and salad which was then followed by plate-loads of not-so-healthy cakes,
all lovingly home-made by supporters of hBTSR. The setting under gazebos and on picnic
rugs made it easy for people to congregate and chat informally; women dandled babies on
their laps as they exchanged experiences and ideas whilst keeping a watchful eye on the
other little ones playing nearby. Old friendships were renewed and new ones made, whilst
the more energetic adults engaged again in football or team skipping; bringing back happy
memories of younger days for many. Meanwhile, the very little ones did what children the
world over do; played ‘tag’, shared ‘goodies’ and played with the toy kitchen. Maybe we
older ones could learn from their easy acceptance of each other?
The day was rounded off with more refreshments on offer and then it was time for the
guests to leave and return to their everyday world of poor housing and hardship. But they
left with wonderful smiles on their faces. Some lovely letters of thanks have since been
received, including these comments from the Swansea ‘Women’s Group. “ So Niceee!”;
“Thanks it was a lovely day we really enjoyed”; “Thank you so much for an amazing
memory. There was great hospitality and we will never forget this day and the people we
In addition to all the fun and friendship that was shared, the day provided an excellent opportunity for some useful networking between the leaders of the different support groups in Swansea and Newport, as well as some donations for the work of HBTSR and friendly
conversations between passers-by and the group.
All in all, it was, (to borrow words from the irrepressible ‘Wallace and Gromit’) ,a “Grand Day out!”
Of course, that could not have happened without a great deal of planning, preparation and
hard work by so many.
Our sincere thanks go to:
Brecon Beacons National Parks Authority for their continued support and help especially Francesca Bell , Norma Thomas, Paul Chapman ,Hayley Sharpe, Amanda Brake
The Workers and volunteers from the Refugee Support groups in Swansea and Newport:
Teryl, Kelly, Bev and Mark for giving their time to ensure that a good day was had by all.
Brecon Rotary Club, for donating the bottled water
Penpont Estate, for the organic tomatoes and salad leaves.
and to Derek and Hay Deli for allowing us freezer space for some delicious home made cakes that had their first outing at the Fair Trade market!
The HBTSR members who helped by donating food or helping on the day: Lawrence, Ailsa, Rowland. Rhiannon, Lis, Penny, Val, Tim, Liz J, Liz M, Adil, Kathryn, Pat, Melrose, Mac,Sylvia , Barbara, Reg, and Virginia.
And to the men, women and children who came and spent the day with us.
and to the people passing by who stopped to ask what was going on and either joined in or gave us money to keep up the good work.
And apologies to others who helped in any way but whose names are not known.
It was lovely to see some new friendships being made especially among the children – it is such a beautiful place and we are so lucky to have the support of all these people.
From a personal point of view it was interesting for me to network with other groups from Swansea – thank you Jeni, Thanu and Kelly and also Adella for stepping in last minute to help man the ‘old bus pick up location’! Maybe some more coordination between our various groups in Swansea would benefit us all.
Once again a big THANK YOU to all that made this such a great day.’
.It was a great chance for all to meet new friends, and provided an excellent opportunity for strengthening the asylum network for all those involved. We look forward to our future work together.’
from Mark of The Gap Sanctuary Newport ‘ Great Food, great company great location’