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Another wonderful day in Llangynidr

After some of the hard times we’ve been through recently with Hate crimes and other issues ,it is  truly amazing to receive such a warm welcome and so many activities and  such wonderful food on offer. Heartfelt thanks to all involved.’ M from Swansea

some of the school choir performing. there was an audience of over 100 people enjoying the songs

Anyone who was fortunate to be in Llangynidr Hal or environs on Sunday 15th October will know what a spectacular day was arranged and emerged. Even the weather was brilliant!

Mike and his wonderful community team had been planning via What’s App for weeks and the attention to detail was obvious in the sheer range of activities and food and the smooth running of the day. Activities ranged from Kite flying, Tennis and walks to printing, lantern making,  quilting, a display of local flora and a Planetarium. Yes , really an enormous dome in which people were able to view the stars at night was in the hall!

















Music throughout the day was provided firstly by the very tuneful and talented Llangynidr School choir and then by  Justin, The Hallelujah Joes and friends who then played throughout the day with a short pause to allow Maryna to sing and play some Ukrainian songs.

And as for Food and drink this was on offer throughout the day and was amazing in its volume, variety and taste. There really was something for everyone with hot  dishes, salads, cakes, biscuits, fruit, snacks, a variety of teas and coffees and soft drinks. Even Popcorn was being made and eaten voraciously!

Delicious vegetable curry made by Llangynidr school from vegetables. that they grew themselves!


The first visitors to arrive came from Penarth with some of the Ukrainians who had settled there and they were able to meet up with our local Ukrainians as they came. The bus arrived from Swansea at about 11.45 with 50 people  who were able to start participating immediately.  There may have been people seeking sanctuary in Abergavenny but if so they blended in perfectly with the general melee! All in all. there were around  200 people involved, having fun and  well fed during the day! With the weather being so good, table and chairs were placed outside as well as many inside  and  everyone seemed happy to bask in the late summer sun. .  The sheer amount of space both in and around the  hall contributed towards this being an especially relaxed and joyful event.  The walks in the afternoon were obviously much appreciated  and gave people room for the enormous volume of cake that was on offer! We were able to send a box of home baked goodies back with Maria to share at the drop ins.

Its hard to do justice to this great day in writing – the smiles said it all on the day . Anyone who was there will remember it for all the right reasons for  a long time…

 Gustavo who was helping to keep an eye on the Swansea contingent wrote “Thanks to you for giving me the opportunity. And believe me today was wonderful”.
Maria said
The away day was wonderful and we appreciate all the work that went into such a day. The amount of toiletries was amazing – these will be so helpful to those on such low incomes.Thanks for all that you do.

such a large list of people whose input was much appreciated . If your name isn’t below please forgive me. We couldn’t have managed without you!

Mike and Sue Gatehouse  and the community of Llangynidr
School choir 23+ children with Head Teacher Sian Shepherdson, sang songs of welcome
School gardening club Made lovely veggie curry with squashes they had grown
Toiletries Bags of toiletries donated by  parents at school. Sent with Maria to Swansea
Women’s massage by  Yolanda  and Reiki In women’s therapies room by Liz
Flowers on tables  which were sent home with people as they left Lizzie Peel + Lilly Peel and other flowers arrived during the day as did an enorouns bunch of mint and sugar lumps for mint tea. Much appreciated by me – and others!
Crêche Jane Durrant brought giant  playpen, mats and toys. Helen O’Sullivan and others minded children when mums had massage or Reiki
Crafts for younger children  Maryna
Block printing Rachel Cadman Knitting Marjorie Davies Quilting Squares  Emily Hedges and Mum Jill
Lantern-making Bridget/The Big Skill
Face-painting  Anna Bell and Fenella
Friendship bracelets Ann/The Big Skill
Nail bar Kirsty Davies

Planetarium BBNPA + Usk Astronomical Society (who brought, erected and staffed)
Nature Table In Hall, with leaves, apples, fungi John Gibbs
Apples Huge quantity of apples from local orchards picked and brought to hall. Each guest took away a bag-full William Gibbs. Loretta and Lilly Peel
Music  with  piano, various instruments and keyboard and singing   Justin, The Hallelujah Joes, Simon Lancaster

Kitchen Supervisor Melrose East
Teas Church & Chapels Jean Barnes
Snacks, fruit, lunch Many volunteers, including: Lucy Griffiths, Gaynor Hooper,Margaret Blake, Ailsa, Jess Jones, Jackie Hattingh, Gerwyn Moseley, Lilly Peel, Llangynidr School, The Red Lion, Helen, Tessa, Christina Campbell, Liz & Nick Morgan, Natalie, Carolyn, Val Fraser
Short Walk Down Cyfreddyn Lane to River Usk at Worcester Cottage  John Gibbs
Long Walk Castle Road, Canal, + demonstration of lock in operation  Arthur Cadman, Joseph
Kite-flying Steve
Tennis Vadym, Graham
Outdoor games Supervisor Kate Mason

Thanks from Swansea

Hi it’s was fantastic I enjoyed and I love it thank you
We had a wonderful time there, thanks for everything. 🙏🌹❤️
We had a lovely time as always. Children found it really interesting and enjoyable. The food was great. I liked the cakes the most though.🤭Thank you so much for organizing this for people like me. I really appreciate it. Many thanks once again. A and family.
Good evening,
This is absolutely amazing, thank you so much!  We learned a lot about Wales and boating.  I still have flowers in my vase, given by the wonderful women who hosted us.  Also, I am very grateful that you were able to drop us off a little earlier, it helped my husband get home without problems on crutches.
It was fantastic I really enjoyed.
It was great, I loved the massages, the manicure, I learned how to sew. The volunteers were very caring and kind. I was able to have a relaxed chat while they taught me the technique of sewing the exaggons, it was a very nice atmosphere. The exhibition of the planets was also fabulous, the food was delicious. Thank you for your kindness. My words fall short of what I really want to express. Thank you so much to all who make these tours possible. God bless you in return.
And Val wrote

Last Sunday, 15th of October, the Llangynidr community pulled out all the stops to welcome around 200 people for a day out in the beautiful Breconshire countryside.  Working with HBTSR (Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees) Llangynidr hosted a group of people seeking asylum who came from Swansea on a coach coordinated by SASS (Swansea Asylum Seekers Support), as well as a group of Ukrainians from Penarth.  These were joined by other Ukrainians living in the surrounding area and dozens of local supporters and their families, all of whom enjoyed the glorious sunshine as well as the generous supplies of good food and entertainment.  The first arrivals were welcomed with a performance of happy songs by children from the Llangynidr primary school, many of whom then stayed on with their parents for the rest of the day, taking part in some of the many activities, and mixing and mingling with families of people seeking asylum.  For most of the rest of the day there was music from the Hallelujah Joes band and friends from Hay, and also a Ukrainian woman with a beautiful voice who accompanied herself on the piano and gave special pleasure to her fellow Ukrainians.

Llangynidr Village Hall is ideally suited for such events with plenty of space for a crèche for toddlers and all sorts of craft workshops for both children and adults, including quilting, knitting, leaf-printing and lantern-making.  There was also the ever-popular face-painting for children while women could have their nails painted or enjoy a relaxing massage.  All of these activities were provided by volunteers, including several from The Big Skill team.  One unusual contribution to the day’s activities was a big blow-up planetarium provided by the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority and staffed by members of the Usk Astronomical Society.  People could go into this big dark space and listen to a volunteer explaining about the different planets in our solar system while watching them circling overhead.

Outside Llangynidr hall there is a generous children’s playground and some very well-equipped playing fields, all of which provided more energetic forms of entertainment for visitors and locals alike, including tennis, football and kite-flying.  The Llangynidr team had also organised local walks, including one down to the canal that included a demonstration of how a canal lock works.  Meanwhile, to relax between the many activities, people moved lots of tables and benches outside onto the hall terrace where they could chat and enjoy the sunshine and the lovely views.