Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we have not been able to offer our normal activities. Despite the restrictions, we have managed to offer the following:
Our Help and Information team have been giving support, sometimes by phone but often face to face in Covid secure conditions. Our Food and Clothing team are delivering bags of food or clothing to those most at need.
We have a weekly friendship Zoom meeting every Monday from 5 to 6. We catch up on each other’s news and focus on a weekly topic. If you would like to join us please contact one of the numbers on the home page. We always welcome new participants.
At Christmas we were able to give out gift vouchers.
We keep in touch with many people by making phone calls, texting, WhatsApp, emailing as we try to keep our sense of community at Space4U alive.
£500 raised for Space4U Members of VSO in Cardiff organised a Curry Night with a quiz in the early autumn with the majority of the funds raised going to Space4U. Quite a few of our volunteers were there. We all had a very enjoyable evening and £500 was raised for our organisation. An additional benefit was that more people now know about Space4U.
Trip to Porthcawl A large group spent the day at the beach in Porthcawl, playing games and exploring the area. A few were brave enough to go in the sea. It was an enjoyable day for all.
Volunteers at Buckingham Palace
Local AM Jenny Rathbone was so impressed by our work when she visited Space4U, that she passed on invitations to a Palace Garden Party. Sister Ruth and Jenny attended on behalf of our volunteers.
Cardiff Outstanding Community Volunteer Award 2019 On 28th June we were thrilled that our volunteer David won this award. For more than 10 years David has volunteered at Space4U. Despite being 86 years old, he is regular and thoroughly reliable. He arrives early and looks for what needs to be done. David is a kind and friendly man. He loves the diversity of Space4U and spends the day engaging in conversation with all those who visit or having a game of table tennis.
Nick ended his art sessions with us in March. On his last couple of sessions we created a tree and hung messages of what we wanted for the future. Here’s one example.
Christine came from Knighton to run a bead workshop. Both men and women made lovely bracelets out of a huge range of beads. Some beads had letters on so people had a bracelet with their name on.
Music Night On Saturday 26th January, the Cardiff VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) supporters group held a concert with proceeds in aid of VSO and Space4U. The concert featured the Canton RFC male voice choir and the Stompers Jazz Band.
The concert was well supported with over 100 in attendance including 21 asylum seekers or refugees from the Space4U project. The music was well received and a substantial donation to the two charities was raised.
Christmas We enjoyed some festive food for our last session before Christmas. We also made some Christmas decorations.
Music at Space4U We had two very noisy and enjoyable workshops in November, courtesy of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Tutors from the college brought a range of drums and other instruments and engaged many of us in music making. As well as following the young, dynamic tutor some of our participants led the music making. It was wonderful to see such enthusiasm and smiling faces. Music is very uplifting.
On October 11th we said goodbye to a very special friend of Space4U. Sian has been involved in the project for nine years. She has been the treasurer and also trustee. She has worked very hard for the charity and was thanked most profoundly by Jenny and Ruth. Many of our participants showed their appreciation and we celebrated with a delicious cream cake.
September trip to Knighton We had a great trip to Knighton, a long and lovely day. The weather was good and there was a lot to do: pottery, music and dancing, games inside and outside, a bike ride, slackline walking. Delicious food was provided by the volunteers at Knighton. We visited the museum, went to an unusual art exhibition and of course went to the England -Wales border. Wonderful group and new friendships made. Yet again the Knighton group had planned a really enjoyable day for us all. We arrived home tired but having had a great day.
10-year birthday celebration As part of Refugee Week in June, we celebrated 10 years of Space4U. Many friends from the past and current friends joined us in a very enjoyable evening. A new film was showed for the first time – giving a taste of our activities and personal testament of people’s experiences of Space4U. We had music, dance and a birthday buffet. There was lively chatter, a really great atmosphere and of course a birthday cake!
Trip to Knighton April 2018 On a Saturday at the end of April, 26 of us went by coach to the town of Knighton. Knighton is near the border between Wales and England and you will see in the photo that some of us had a foot in each country! We had been invited by the Knighton and District Refugee Support Group, who had arranged the activities for the day. We were treated to a really enjoyable day. We were met by the Town Crier, which was very exciting and also visited by the mayor. We took part in a number of activities including throwing a pot, various games, watching a football match, a countryside walk, live music and dancing. Needless to say there was lots of delicious food. We thank Knighton and District Refugee Support Group for such an enjoyable day.
Trip to Atlantic College February 2018 On Sunday 25th February, 62 of us visited Atlantic College for a day of fun activities organised by students at the college. We enjoyed swimming, games, a visit to the beach, a wonderful Middle Eastern meal in the castle and singing and dancing to end the day. Thank you to the students and staff at Atlantic College for organising the day!
Students from Atlantic College also visited Space4U on Monday 26th February to lead our English classes.
Art and craft at Space4U For a few months now Abi, a student from University of South Wales, has been coming in every Thursday to encourage the creativity within us all. People have been drawing, painting, working with clay, making collages amongst many engaging activities. Decorations were made for Christmas and on another occasion some beautiful lanterns were made, lit up by battery powered candles. A recent activity was making these ‘trees’ on top of pebbles. Below are some photos of the activities. Abi has lovely, exciting ideas and many people have enjoyed experimenting and creating something new.
Sister Ruth describes her visit to Calais in January 2018 I was working in Calais for two weeks in January as a volunteer. I visited the various Charities and Organisations working there and spent time each day with the refugees. The situation was terrible with everyone living outside in the open in a hostile environment, with no shelter and it was freezing cold. Despite all the hardship, refugees were smiling, polite and friendly as they are here at Space4U. Following the meeting of President Macron and Theresa May, numbers arriving in Calais increased hugely within a few days. Violence broke out between groups and several people were seriously injured. Refugees remain determined to get to the UK whilst Governments seem to lack the imagination needed to solve the crisis.
November 2017: Bikes and cycle repair workshop in Hay – and snow! At the end of November 2017 a group of 10 young people from Space4U went up to Hay on Wye to attend a cycle workshop. Sister Ruth, Jenny and Sam came with their cars. Drovers Cycles had teamed with Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees to host this session. Old unwanted bikes had been collected and the team from Drovers Cycles worked with us to make the bikes roadworthy. Participants were shown how to repair and maintain a bike by the expert team. As well as learning new skills each participant was going to be able to have one of the bikes. On the way back to Cardiff we stopped on the snowy hills of the Brecon Beacons. Some people had never seen snow before. A few weeks later the team from Hay delivered the bikes to Cardiff. Those who had attended the workshop were very excited to take ownership of the bikes. Space4U provided locks and lights.
Trip to Porthcawl On Saturday 5th August 56 of us went on a trip to Porthcawl. We had beautiful weather after a rainy week and enjoyed an afternoon on the beach, walking around the coast and at the funfair! Everyone enjoyed a day away from the city and seeing the beautiful Welsh coast. We are grateful to Fund for Wales for providing funding for this trip.
Funding from Hanfod Cymru Space4U is delighted to have received a small grant from Hanfod Cymru. Hanfod Cymru is a new national charitable fund exclusively for Wales, distributing the money raised for good causes by Loteri Cymru (www.hanfodcymru.wales).
The grant will be used to continue providing a hot meal at each of Space4U's drop-in sessions on Mondays and Thursdays. It will also be used to provide travel expenses to volunteers at Space4U to ensure that we are able to continue to offer volunteering opportunities to those who may not be able to afford to travel to Space4U.
In the video below, Sister Ruth O'Neill explains the difference that this grant will make to Space4U.
Refugee Week 2017 To celebrate Refugee Week 2017 Space4U will be holding a Table Tennis Tournament on Monday 19th June, 12:30pm - 3:30pm. Come along and support Space4U participants and see who is crowned Table tennis Champion 2017!
On Thursday 22nd June at 4:30pm we will be showing Star Wars Rogue One. All Welcome!
Visit to Atlantic College
On Sunday 5th March, 55 of us visited Atlantic College for a day of fun activities organised by students at the college.
We enjoyed tours of the college, swimming, a visit to the beach, a wonderful meal and singing and dancing.
Students from Atlantic College also visited Space4U on Monday 6th March to lead our English classes.
Forced to leave... to the unknownwas launched at the Trinity Centre on Monday 3rd October 2016. The booklet is a collection of stories by refugees and asylum seekers in Cardiff.
A small exhibition displayed extracts from the book as well as a variety of photographs taken during the photography workshops.
Around 120 people filled the hall at the Trinity Centre for the launch and enjoyed food prepared by participants at Space4U.
Those who attended were given a copy of the book and encouraged to share it widely.
At the launch a number of project participants talked about their involvement in the project. We heard about the importance of sharing stories, how telling stories in general can be fun and a good way of learning English and about new skills that were learned taking photos for the book. One participant also read their story from the book.
In the coming weeks our exhibition will be seen at Made in Roath (http://madeinroath.com/) and in libraries across Cardiff where copies of the book will also be available. Stories project - Forced to leave... to the unknown - update
The stories booklet Forced to leave... to the unknown was very well received and by the end of the year nearly all copies had been distributed. We are very grateful for funding from Race Equality First to print an extra 2000 copies of the booklet. Race Equality First will be using some copies for their work and the rest will be distributed via libraries, community groups, educational establishments and the wider community.
Story Telling In February 2016 many of those who come to Space4U engaged in story telling in different ways. In class some have been using their imagination and in groups creating stories from pictures. We had two workshops where again we used our imagination in different ways to make unusual stories.
On February 24th a group of us went to Cardiff Story Museum to find out about the story of Cardiff. This was a great trip and there were many interesting displays.
At the same time individuals have been sharing their experiences about why they left their country, their journey to the UK and how they have found living in Cardiff. These experiences will be put into a small book which will be distributed in Cardiff. There will also be a simple exhibition. Photo workshops Two photography workshops were held in May. These were run by Michal Iwanowski and Ffotogallery. 12 asylum seekers and refugees attended these workshops. Skills relating to light levels, composition and content were developed and groups went out with cameras to take photos of things and places locally that they found interesting or wanted to photograph.
They also looked at taking photos inside and focused particularly on hands. Portraits were also taken but with a difference - as their faces were not shown. As well as developing photographic skills, great fun was had by all.
The photos taken at these workshops were used in the booklet. At the workshop the group decided on the strongest images and later a different group chose photos for the exhibition. One of the asylum seekers was also involved in the design of the booklet. An exhibition will be created to help promote the booklet. The booklet will be launched early in October 2016. Home4U Sleep-out 2016 Home4U volunteers slept outside in Cardiff City centre from 7pm - 7am on Friday 7th October to raise money and awareness for Home4U our Accommodation Project for asylum seekers who have been made destitute.
Trip to Porthcawl
On Saturday 30th July 72 of us went to Porthcawl for the day. It was perfect weather for a day at the beach and we enjoyed playing football, volleyball and swimming in the sea. We shared lunch together and enjoyed a walk around the coast in the afternoon.