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Syrian family settling well in Cardigan

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A LOCAL charity, Croeso Teifi, welcomed one Syrian family to Cardigan in November last year and it seems they are settling in well.

The family met them at the airport along with two other community groups meeting a family each. The families shed tears of relief.

It was quickly found out that the Syrian family spoke no English. This did not inhibit communication or joy. The two children danced when they stopped in a cafe on the way home.

The parents started learning English straight away and are improving fast. This term the young children started full time school and are learning Welsh. The parents are also volunteering every week.

Croeso Teifi works with the Home Office and local authority on settling a small number of Syrian refugee families in or near Cardigan – wherever there is a welcome.

The team are aware of the importance of not competing with local needs for jobs, and minimising use of scarce public services.

The family were chosen by the United Nations organisation working with the Home Office with guidance from the Local Authority. Croeso Teifi let the Home Office know the skills that this area is short of before the selection.

The family say they love Wales, love Cardigan and love their home. The children go to school with a smile and come back practicing their Welsh. Their father is looking forward to getting into full time work, and both parents are doing a lot of homework to learn English quickly. They want to learn Welsh after learning English.

Croeso Teifi feel that the first family have been a success so far, They welcome new people to work to befriend and integrate a second family.

Community sponsored settlement is different to government supported settlement. The community provide all the money and gifts to ensure a successful integration. We find and equip a home, provide translation and English lessons, friendship and work and training and opportunities.

The generosity of people in and around Cardigan has been breath-taking. The hard working team of Croeso Teifi volunteers are regularly moved and surprised at the generous spirit of the town. We do our best to ensure that the area benefits as well as us benefitting the refugee family.

Wales is actually leading the UK in community sponsorship. Aberystwyth has its own community scheme with a first family due, and there are several families already in Pembrokeshire. The scheme was inspired by Canada where community sponsorship has been running for over 40 years. It enables refugee newcomers to belong to a local community from the word go, to quickly adapt and contribute their energy and skills.

The team look forward to the next phase of this journey of discovery.

However, a new report published by a coalition of organisations working to support refugees and asylum seekers in Wales shows that families separated from close relatives are experiencing significant trauma and long-lasting harm to their well-being.

At a time when 65 million people worldwide – half of them children – have been forced from their homes because of conflict, violence and persecution, the report also finds that barriers to reuniting family members can seriously impact on their ability to integrate into new communities and rebuild their lives in Wales.

Rihana, a woman from Syria, whose extended family are separated with different family members in Damascus and Lebanon, said: “Being apart from loved ones has brought about a lot of anxiety and distress. We are mentally affected as we always think of our extended family and the difficulties they must face.”

Published by the British Red Cross, Welsh Refugee Council, Displaced People in Action and Asylum Justice, the report calls on politicians in Wales to offer more support for refugees seeking to reunite with family members.

It also recommends that Welsh MPs support a Private Members Bill for Refugee Families that has its second reading in Parliament on Friday, March 16.

That Bill calls for changes to UK immigration rules that would expand the criteria for who qualifies as a “family member” for the purposes of refugee family reunion to include: young relatives, adult sons and daughters, adult siblings, parents, any dependent relatives and any person granted refugee leave.

It also calls for family members of children to be brought to the UK under the refugee reunion policy and for the reintroduction of legal aid for refugee family reunion cases.

The report also calls on the Welsh Government to offer additional support to refugees in Wales by looking at ways to mitigate the adverse impacts of UK policy in Wales by enabling refugees to access the free accredited legal advice required for complex family reunion cases and supporting Welsh local authorities and local health boards to implement protocols for successful family reunion applications.

Red Cross refugee services operations manager for Wales Ruth Gwilym Rasool said: “For many of us, family is the most important thing in our lives and refugees, just like the rest us in Wales, desperately want to remain close to their loved ones.

“Worldwide, we see conflict, violence and persecution driving families apart, with close relatives often separated by continents and loved ones left behind to face danger on a daily basis.

“Refugees now living in Wales have already been through barely imaginable pain and trauma and they deserve to be able to rebuild their lives and reunite their families in safety.

“Present family reunion rules prolong that suffering – causing untold stress and anxiety – and prevent refugees from beginning their new lives in their new communities in Wales.”

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Police investigating sudden death of three-year-old

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the sudden death of a three-year-old child.

At approximately 4.25pm on Sunday (Oct 21) police received a report of a collision involving a child and a vehicle at a private property near Llanybydder.

Tragically, the child died at the scene.

A police spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the family, who are being supported by specially trained officers.

“Enquiries are ongoing. H.M. Coroner and the Health and Safety Executive are aware.”

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Council staff show their support for Shwmae Su’mae Day

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SHWMAE Su’mae day was celebrated throughout Wales on Monday, 15 October to encourage people to start every conversation with ‘Shwmae’ or ‘Su’mae’! To mark the day this year, staff at Ceredigion County Council held a cookery competition during its weekly ‘Clwb Cinio Cymraeg’ session (Welsh Lunch Club).

‘Clwb Cinio Cymraeg’ is the Council’s new sessions that give staff who are learning Welsh a chance to meet and practice their Welsh in an informal setting. Shwmae Su’mae day aims to show that the Welsh language belongs to us all – fluent speakers, learners or those shy about their Welsh.

Huw Owen is the Council’s new Work Welsh Training Officer and teaches Welsh in the Workplace lessons to Council staff on different stages of their journey in developing their fluency in the Welsh language. Huw established the successful Clwb Cinio Cymraeg earlier this year and said, “The Clwb Cinio Cymraeg is a vital part of Ceredigion County Council’s Work Welsh teaching provision. Language is a communal phenomenon, and the informal learning opportunities provided by the Clwb Cinio gives the Council’s learners the opportunity to take their Welsh beyond the more formal world of the classroom and become a Welsh language community. The success of the baking competition on Shwmae Su’mae Day is testament to the Council’s learners’ commitment and enthusiasm for learning Welsh as a language through which they can work, live, and have fun.”

Last year, 125 staff members were recognised for their dedication to learn the language by attending regular classes. Staff this year are able to continue receiving Welsh in the Workplace lessons, alongside additional opportunities to practice the language through the Clwb Cinio Cymraeg and Ffrind Iaith (Language Buddy scheme). Ffrind Iaith is where Welsh-learners are paired with a Welsh-speaker mentor within the work setting.

Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn said, “Ceredigion County Council is committed in supporting the Welsh language and culture, and we encourage staff to take up the offer of developing their Welsh with these engaging learning opportunities. The Council ensures its services and activities promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language throughout the county. Every member of the public in Ceredigion has the right to choose which language they wish to use when communicating with the Council and it’s a requirement of the Council staff to respond in a positive way to this choice.”

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Ceredigion’s first ‘Welsh in the Workplace’ business fair a success

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SMALL businesses in Cardigan came together to a special event on Thursday, 4 October 2018. The Business Fair was an opportunity to network, learn from each other and share experiences of using the Welsh language in business.

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Culture said, “With the excitement of the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod 2020 about to start, it was encouraging to see the county’s businesses coming together to learn how to market effectively and promote the Welsh language in business. It was refreshing to witness an honest discussion about the challenges facing businesses and also pleasing to hear how successful businesses have been since using the Welsh language.”

The event, held in Cardigan Castle, began with an interesting presentation by Huw Marshall from the Yr Awr Gymraeg. Huw discussed how the Welsh language can offer positive opportunities for local businesses and how it can boost business and the economy.

Kerry Ferguson said, “An extremely beneficial event. The panel demonstrated the benefits of Welsh in business, and also that there is plenty of support available – not just in various organisations, but businesses also. I would highly recommend Ceredigion businesses attend the next event!”.

This was supported by Rosalind Robinson, “Huw’s discussion was extremely helpful in particular how attractive the Welsh is in business for non-Welsh speakers. As a Welsh learner myself, I gained the opportunity to practice (and improve) my Welsh.”

An open discussion was held by a panel of businesses on the challenges of using the Welsh language in business and also to share good practice. The panel was chaired by Keith Henson (Coleg Ceredigion) and the panel consisted of Dwynwen Davies (Meithrinfa Y Dyfodol), Angharad Williams (Lan Llofft), Sioned Thomas (Ffenestri Kevin Thomas), Kerry Ferguson (Gwe Cambrian Web) and Huw Marshall (Yr Awr Gymraeg).

During the day, there were numerous information stands to visit, including Learn Welsh, Ceredigion Training, Cynnal y Cardi, Business Wales, Antur Teifi, Welsh Language Commissioner, Coleg Ceredigion and Cymraeg Byd Busnes.

Non Davies, Cered Manager said, “The day was an excellent opportunity to bring together businesses not only to receive advice and direction but also to discuss the challenges they face using the Welsh language. An honest and inspiring discussion took place highlighting many good practice ideas for the future. Cered’s Welsh in Business officers continue to visit businesses across the county and anyone is welcome to contact us to arrange a free visit.”

Contact Menter Iaith Cered’s Business Officers, Pat Jones or Owain Llyr on 01545 572350 if you are a business who is interested in receiving information or assistance.

The Welsh in the Workplace project has received LEADER support through the Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group (administered by Ceredigion County Council) which is funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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