Swansea asylum seekers and refugees had the chance to sample some local culture on a day trip to Mumbles.
Around 45 people participated in the visit, which was organised by local individuals and groups and Swansea City of Sanctuary.
Mumbles has always been a place for a day out from Swansea, but this was also a chance to meet Mumbles people and for them to meet and get to know some of the many people seeking sanctuary who live in other parts of Swansea but can’t usually afford to visit Mumbles.
Lunch was generously provided by a number of volunteers and the visitors were welcomed by Carrie Townsend Jones, Chair of Mumbles Community Council, and Henry Gilbert, High Sheriff of West Glamorgan, who wore his ceremonial dress – including, to great interest especially from some of the children, his sword. Then there was a choice of activities: arts and crafts; singing; a visit to the Parish Church of All Saints and the inshore lifeboat station; and a visit to Oystermouth Castle plus games in the grounds.
Thanks to all those who offered facilities or organised activities, including the United Reformed Church for the hall where we met, Canon Keith Evans for the visit and use of the Parish Church for singing, the Catholic Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea where the arts and craft workshop was held, and Councillor Mark Child and the Friends of Oystermouth Castle for allowing us all free access to the castle. Finally we met back at the hall for tea, with large numbers of cakes provided by members of the Anglican and Catholic churches and others.
On the day, the High Sheriff kindly donated 50 free tickets for his Medieval Banquet, together with a donation for transport to allow those seeking sanctuary to get there. Around 45 asylum seekers and refugees attended. Here is the experience of one of them:
“It was an amazing experience being able to be a guest at Medieval Banquet at Oystermouth castle in Mumbles. It was a popular event among the local people and we wouldn’t have been able to afford to be in there if we hadn’t been offered the free admission by High Sheriff of West Glamorgan very kindly.
“It was a lovely afternoon with lots of activities in an amazing venue. We enjoyed lovely food and cakes and drinks. It was great to be a guest to High Sheriff and also being able to say hello to the Lord Mayor and other guests. The free tour inside the castle was a great attraction and kids enjoyed falconry, bow and arrows, jugglers and bouncy castle. Medieval dancing was the best part of the event as kids and adults enjoyed themselves by taking part of it. I would like to Thank High Sheriff of West Glamorgan for offering us this wonderful opportunity and welcoming us to the local community.”
Swansea City of Sanctuary now hopes to organise similar Welcome Days in other parts of Swansea where there are not many asylum seekers or refugees, so that local people and those seeking sanctuary can meet and enjoy time together and we continue to generate more support for sanctuary in Swansea.