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Triumph at Talybont on Usk

You have put giant footprints in the sands of time.  You opened your hearts and arms to people who have been to the end of the world.  This day means so much.  A chance to forget worries, our history, not to stare at four walls, but to be in a healing environment with wonderful people.

These words were spoken by an asylumseeking poet and writer, currently housed in Swansea, who in her country of birth specialised at university level in educational psychology.  Her every sentence sounded poetic and inspiring.  Who would have expected to be discussing the psychology of female genital mutilation or breast ironing during a day out in beautiful Talybont on Usk?But with our Welcome Days it’s always best to expect the unexpected.  And of course one must ask ‘why, oh why isn’t this amazing lady being allowed, indeed encouraged, to work by our Home Office while they approve her asylum application? ‘ It seems crazy, when there is such an urgent need for doctors, nurses and careworkers, that she and so many other people with the necessary training and skills are having to wait for so long to have their applications processed.

Setting up Rhiannon , Christina and Julie in situ

This Welcome Day in Talybont on Sunday 25thof June, marked the last day of Refugee Week and the weekend of the Great Get-Together.  The weather was perfect and everyone who came – the asylum seeking men women and children who were arrived on a coach from Swansea, the Ukrainian families  and their hosts who live locally, and all the volunteers from Talybont and HTBTSR (Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees) – greatly enjoyed themselves.
Henderson Hall was the ideal venue and the local community pulled out all the stops, providing everyone with more than enough to eat, tables piled with huge bowls of colourful salads and picnic food for lunch, and tray after tray of beautifully decorated, delicious cakes for tea, as well as fruit and snacks all day. It was especially nice to see locally based Ukrainian  people  also bringing food and helping to set up, serve and tidy up.  This is inclusion and community cohesion in action.

Which is what these Welcome Days are all about: helping people who have fled all sorts of unimaginable horrors in search of hope but who are living in limbo, waiting often for years for their applications to be considered, to feel included, valued, human.

 In the morning a guided walk along a stretch of the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal and through Talybont’s community orchard offered volunteers and people seeking sanctuary  a chance to talk and enjoy the scenery together.  In the afternoon there were all sorts of games and sports for the kids – running races, sack races, tug-of-war – while the adults could just relax and chat in the sunshine.  

The fifty or so people who came up from Swansea came from more than a dozen countries across the world – Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe – and it was obvious from the smiles on their faces as they got onto the bus to return to their often very cramped housing in the city, that they had really enjoyed themselves.  The many messages of thanks they sent afterwards mentioned the nutritious food, the fun and games, the beautiful countryside and above all the warm welcome.  For all involved this was a day to remember.




Rhiannon Writes

A big thank you to everyone who played a part in the Welcome Day at Henderson Hall yesterday. It was a great success due to a fantastic team effort and so many people from the community getting involved.

There were lots of happy, smiling faces at the end of the action-packed day. We said we’d give everyone a day to remember, and we certainly did! The first, but may be not the last Welcome day at the Hall, which constantly flies the Ukrainian flag in solidarity for refugees living locally.

Special thanks locally to the White Hart, the Star Inn and Talybont Shop and Post office for their generous food contributions, and to others who dropped off cakes during the day. Talybont WI ladies: Trish, Ruth and Deborah and Henderson Hall committee members: Julia, Gail, Linda and Liz, all real troupers in the kitchen. Anna Bell for her magnificent face-painting and Chris Jones, Rob and Lettie Francis who organised children’s races in the afternoon, creating a lot of fun and laughter. A community effort to be proud of!

HBTSR Thanks to Henderson Hall Committee

To PAVO and Powys County Council for a grant which helped to pay for transport and expenses.
To Rhiannon and Beryl for superb coordination,

Julia Harris of the Big Skill and her Granddaughters for painting and drawing

To Christina for Patchwork skills,

to All the volunteers in the kitchen  and to all who brought or supplied food.

to the sports organisers.

To Talybont  Wi

To local pubs and the shop

to the walks leaders,

To Jane Durrant for loan of play equipment and Llangorse community centre for loans of other kit

To Thanu for her hard work without whom the Swansea ends of the day wouldn’t have worked. Thanks also to Ruth for coping with travel sickness   And to Maria and Phil for their unfailing support

 To Carl the amazing bus driver

Thanks from attendees

Please send my words of thanks for today’s activity. I enjoyed the ride very much and it was relaxing and interesting to walk along the canal and the food was very delicious. God bless all the volunteers who cordially attended us and the leaders who made this activity possible.

Fue muy hermoso y placentero el viaje lo disfrute gracias.

Thank you so much 🥰🥰🥰

Hi, Thanu. The trip was amazing with beautiful view and nice sunshine. I felt very warm hospitality with great food by staff at the hall. Food was healthy, nutritious, and colouful meal all cooked by lovely people. I was moved by their smile and hospitality.
The activities such as sports day was stunning all kids had a big smile on their face.

Thank you Thanu for having us for fabulous trip.

Thank you very much, it was a very nice day, your hospitality was great

Our children were very happy, thank you very much For you guys

Thanks to everyone who organized this trip. We really liked everything! Nice place, away from the noisy city, we enjoyed beautiful nature and great food. It was so delicious, you tried very hard to make this day off unforgettable for us! We look forward to joining you on future trips.

Thank you very much for everything, we really enjoyed the walk with a lovely welcome ❤️
Thanks to everyone who organized this trip. We really liked everything! Nice place, away from the noisy city, we enjoyed beautiful nature and great food. It was so delicious, you tried very hard to make this day off unforgettable for us! We look forward to joining you on future trips.

Good afternoon! Thank you very much for organizing the tour. It was fantastic! We came from Ukraine after the start of the war. For us, this is the first meeting with the locals, who welcomed us so warmly. Our children were very happy! The only thing, I really want a more active excursion, where we can see the nature of Wales, I really want to see the waterfalls. Once again, thanks a lot!


a first for us – a poem about our day


Capturing the sights and sounds of nature;
The tally was good on us.
This ever green neighbourhood,
Breaks the silence of nature.

Adorned with the finest site;
Great archives of past travels,
Serene vegetation,
Calm waters and great relief features;
Mindblowing flora and fauna
And most colourful petals and buds.

Outstanding in colonial trade,
Remnants of industrial ties,
The finest lyrics of Vaughn
Horse tracks and bridges of old
Steam locomotive train lines
And relics of the mighty coal lords.

Still, this silence resonates,
Maintaining its unique history
Preserving its finest gems.
Whose beauty and style
Is unique to its beneficiaries.

A canal so cool and legendary
Spans to millennia
With ever stll water channels
And freshness overloaded.

This mighty travel line,
Has boarded millions.
Home to beautiful indigenes,
Highlife resort to peace lovers,
Business line to marketers
And friend to solo travellers.

Its gentle waters span in miles,
Dishing out capital, love and romance
To weary lovers, merchants and travellers;
As to lover ducks and ducklings.

The cosy environs are close to none;
Greenfields well shaped
Pruned  trees of competing heights,
Cleanliness is uppermost
And serenity is key.

A breathtaking scenario, Peaceful landscape,
Grazing park for fauna,
The greenest slopes.
Beautiful and gentle hills,
And valleys so cool.

Blessed with great folktales
And the finest indegenes;
This breathtaking location
Churns out endless smiles
And warmth to all tourists.

Talybont cuisines are next to none.
Fresh finest flavours and tastes.
The savouring was incessant.
Flamboyant in style and manner.

With veggies of all colours
From salads to puddings.
A jam of cakes and icings. Irresistible colours and salivating mouths.
Classy menu for all and sundry.
The taste of the pudding was in the eating.