The Perthyn Project
‘…but came here and making us a peer-leader you know…welcome, warm, door open, everything it means to us.’
The Perthyn project ran from January 2019 for a year (‘Perthyn’ meaning ‘Belonging’ in Welsh). It was a women’s only project and was funded by the ‘Tampon Tax Fund’ via the mental health charity Mind. This project was a partnership between the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) and the British Red Cross (BRC).
Through BRC’s psychosocial approach to supporting refugees and asylum seekers, the Women’s programme co-ordinator had identified a need for women to have a space to communicate and share beyond the more formal class settings. The aim was, therefore, to create a space where refugee and asylum-seeking women could talk about ‘heart felt’ issues, create new friendships, improve their emotional literacy in English, and decrease isolation.
Perthyn was based on a peer-led approach and subsequently, began with the recruitment of peer-leaders. These women were invited to join Perthyn with the transparent aim of supporting them to facilitate the group. In total, 11 women were recruited as peer-leaders. Over time three left the group due to their own personal development and other commitments, leaving a consistent nine.
A modelled training method was used with the peer-leaders to help empower them to develop the skills needed to run the group themselves.
A total of 43 women were involved in the project (including the peer-leaders and the members recruited by them to attend the group) and three groups were set up. During the lifetime of the project these three groups merged into two, which met twice per month.