Three local charities are working together to create a new social running group specifically for asylum seekers and refugees in Cardiff.
Diverse Cymru, Oasis Cardiff and Space4u all support asylum seekers and refugees in Cardiff in different ways, but have joined up to provide a new opportunity to get active.
Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in the UK and can spend many years in a state of uncertainty while their case is being reviewed. This can cause much anxiety to people who have fled from persecution and come to the UK with no support networks in place.
This new group aims to help people keep active, but according to Reynette Roberts from Oasis Cardiff, that isn’t the only benefit. She said:
“The knock-on effects from this project have the potential to increase well-being, confidence, language and social skills. Many asylum seekers were physically active and played sport before they came to the UK, but starting a new sport often requires funds they haven’t got access to. By starting a free group and gathering donations we hope we can make a real difference.”
Diverse Cymru’s BME Mental Health project supports and empowers people with mental ill health to recover in a holistic way. A large proportion of their clients are from the asylum seeking community, and financial and accessibility barriers often affect the pace of recovery.
Support Worker Sarah Sweeney said:
“Exercise is often referred to as an excellent tool to support recovery from illnesses, such as depression, stress and anxiety. Opening the doors to running clubs in Cardiff, will not only improve Asylum Seekers’ fitness, but also their self-esteem and isolation, which are key components of our recovery model.”
This project is being supported by Run Wales, who help set up social running groups, and local running club CDF Runners. Sioned Jones from Run Wales believes running is the perfect way to improve your health and well-being:
“This is a fantastic project for the Refugee Community in Cardiff and we would love to see such opportunities open up all across Wales. Running is free, and everyone can do it! To us, every effort counts and no jog is too small – Run Wales is here to celebrate individuals and groups who walk, jog and run their way to a more active and healthy lifestyle. Regardless of age, fitness level, aspiration, background, or location everyone can start running today.”
It is also hoped that this group will be able to work with other local running clubs and by bringing people from different communities together can enable increased integration and understanding.
The group will rely on the generous donations of sports clothes and shoes from the local running community and the general public. Please contact Oasis Cardiff to find out how you can help:
Phone: (029) 2046 0424