Ely challenges poverty – Friday

Poverty A picture of Cardiff Castle
Photo by Shengpengpeng Cai on Unsplash
ViewsOctober 15th, 2021

Each day in Challenge Poverty Week, Nerys Sheehan from Action in Caerau and Ely describes her day at the Dusty Forge Community Centre. Here are her reflections on Friday. 

Friday already and day 5 of my blog. This morning was spent organising the Weekender packs with help from Kerry, Kelly and Trish.
The Weekenders is a project that has been created due to community need. Parents were asking for sessions for Key Stage 2 children up to lower KS3. Whilst consulting parents on the struggles of lockdown many reported not being able to spend quality time with their children, screen fatigued families and strained relationships from home working and schooling. With the growing concern around mental wellbeing we developed this project using NHS guidance on 5 ways to wellbeing for the session designs.
The sessions follow a theme of connecting, learning, giving back, mindfulness and being active. There are conversation starters and emotional literacy activities which will give parent the opportunity to speak with their children, have fun with the games and feel like they are getting to know one another better as each week goes on. We know that this happens anyway but the Weekenders is exciting for families because they don’t know what they are getting each week. This week they will be baking cookies to give to others and have resources to make kindness cards that fits in with some of the Macmillan work that Kim is doing. The kindness cards will be given to those receiving end of life care, just returned from hospital or just feeling a bit lonely. We collected some beautiful ones from the last group, the children are so creative.
We then moved over the new heritage centre where we met with 12 community members to talk about Poverty. I know I’ve mentioned the work we do with Bevan this week and this was part of that. We always avoid using that word because of the negative connotations associated with it. But actually we thought, we need to talk about it. I found a really interesting quote that really resonated with me “Poverty is so widespread it can sometimes become “the wallpaper of practice…too big to tackle and too familiar to notice’’. The purpose of this session was to gain further insight into peoples lived experiences and how lacking enough material possessions or income for their basic needs contributes to their ability to fully participate and feel included in society. We will use the findings from this session to inform our letter to our local MP.
Then we began the set up process for our Stay and Play session. Becki is the absolute driving force behind this and has so many amazing ideas! Today she had me making jelly and some disgusting concoction with chia seeds for tomorrows Halloween themed messy play session. This is only the second session we have run and again was set up in response to need in the community, families we spoke to said there is a lack of affordable local groups to take little ones too that they could attend outside their work commitments.
I hope this blog has been helpful and for anyone reading about the Dusty Forge and ACE for the first time understands a little bit more about what we do. The centre is a hive of activity with training, cooking, gardening, mental wellbeing groups and so much more.
Our vision is of a happy community, one characterised by co-operation, equality and social justice.
We believe that everyone who lives in our community has something unique to contribute.
We base our efforts on the following BELIEFS:
• Local people know their community best
• Everyone has something unique to contribute
• Everyone’s contribution should be valued equally
• Poverty should not be accepted as a fact of life
• Social injustice should be challenged and changed

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