In Wales, we have worked with people seeking sanctuary (refugees and asylum seekers) since 2019. All our projects are called ‘Perthyn’ (meaning ‘belonging’ in Welsh). We are now entering our 3rd project, building each time on our learning.
Our Perthyn projects all have an overall aim of building confident capacity with our partners so that they in turn can support their beneficiaries with their emotional wellbeing. This for example has included training to become peer group leaders by improving their emotional literacy and understanding of each other. We used language as a tool to do this.
…I didn’t feel belonging in (country of origin), over thirty years, thirty years! I feel belonging here...I feel belonging here in Cardiff because I, I love to live in Cardiff…I feeling very better and … our Perthyn group, give me this feeling (Perthyn Peer Leader)
When you help someone else, you feel like it is medication for yourself (Perthyn Peer Leader)
The first phase of Perthyn was a year-long project funded by the Tampon Tax through Mind and delivered in partnership with the British Red Cross in Newport. The second phase worked with groups in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, and Wrexham, funded by Welsh Government and was delivered in partnership with REACH+.
The current phase of the project spans all of Wales and has a Learning Partner approach. Funded by MHF’s Covid Response Programme and Welsh Government, we will be working with City of Sanctuary, to build capacity across their networks, empowering those seeking sanctuary to champion wellbeing, lead peer support groups, and influence the wider City of Sanctuary Health Stream.