Wales & West Housing supports play project for refugee children

Children seeking Sanctuary now have a safe place to play – thanks to support from Wales & West Housing (WWH).

We provided more than £7,800 in sponsorship to the Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) to support activities on their play project, allowing them to continue through the school holidays.

The funding will help the WRC to provide a safe place for Sanctuary-seeking children to play at their three weekly drop-in play sessions at Trinity Church Centre in Splott, Cardiff, giving children access to toys and bilingual storybooks.

Up to 20 families, from countries including Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Albania and Ukraine, meet with their young children at the sessions. While the children play and make friends in a safe space, their parents can get support from the staff and volunteers. Funded by BBC Children in Need, the play project has been running for 13 years.

The project has supported more than 338 children in the past year and handed out 660 toys and 182 book packs/books to children attending. The financial support from WWH will also allow WRC to take the children out and about around Cardiff, so they can get to know and feel part of the city.

Meryl Hoffer, Play Project lead, explained “Our play sessions are a warm and welcoming safe space for Sanctuary seeking and Refugee children. When they first arrive, many children feel overwhelmed and our aim is to encourage them to play, enjoy our space freely, have fun and make friends.”

“The donation will enable us to offer more fun opportunities and experiences to our children, helping them to build up resilience and confidence during a difficult time for them and their families”
Meryl Hoffer, Play Project lead

“Without this funding we may have to reduce our sessions and give up vital services of support and activities during school holidays.”

One mum from Sudan, who attends with her two young children, said: “We love it here. Everyone here is so kind and helpful. When we first came here, my children didn’t know what toys were, but they have learnt how to play and are more confident around other children.”

Alison Stokes 07484 911100 Alison is our PR & Marketing Officer for South & West Wales.