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October 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to October’s Newsletter telling you about all we’ve been up to over the last month! The highlight of the month had to be our staff development day meeting up in person again after 18 months, and meeting some colleagues for the first time! The team also continue with all their many activities, hosting work placements, running forums and providing vital one to one support. We feel privileged to do what we do and thank our funders, supporters and partners.
Diolch yn fawr.


Rocio Cifuentes
EYST CEO
EYST is a charity for the people, supported by the people. To continue the important work we do, every little donation helps.

Donate today: http://bit.ly/donateEYST
It's the Small Things!
To kick off, we hear from Jorna, our Family Link Support Worker:
This month has been super busy, with everything from new referrals to meeting the full EYST team at our annual staff development day. As always, work and our clients come first at EYST; this month the Family Link Project has acquired five new referrals, as well as offering our continuous support to our existing clients. Earlier in the month, a client was overjoyed when their request for a simple smartphone and tablet for their family was accepted, showing that the things we often take for granted can actually make a huge difference when supporting these families and individuals. On a more light-hearted note, the whole team was in tears playing a huge game of paintball, including my two favourite Team Leads. 😉 For more info contact Jorna@eyst.org.uk
New Participants Settle In on their BME Youth Invest Placements!

The BME Invest team has seen another two participants start in late September. Farishta, has now started her placement hosted by Carmarthenshire County Council putting her skills as an HR manager to good use; Tess’s placement with the National Waterfront Museum of Wales sees her using her experience working with young people to help them increase engagement with the Museum. A third participant, Mohamad will soon start in a new coffee shop in Ammanford, working in EYST in the meantime.

We are sad to see some of our participants come to the end of their 16-week placement and wish them well as they start new employment or training opportunities.

New vacancies have been posted on the website for Swansea and Cardiff for the next placements due to start in early November and January so take a look at the EYST website to see what is live. If you are interested in hosting a paid placement (16 hours/week for 16 weeks) or are interested in finding out more about the Active Inclusion Strand 2 placements funded by ESF (European funds) and managed by WCVA, please contact Deborah@eyst.org.uk

Mentees Recruited in Mentoring Scheme!

The first Equal Power Equal Voice mentoring programme is getting under way! A collaboration between EYST, Disability Wales, Stonewall Cymru and Women’s Equality Network (WEN) Wales, this cross-equalities scheme is working with under-represented voices in Wales to support them into public life. For the last few weeks we’ve been recruiting mentees – and the response has been fantastic! In the coming weeks they’ll be getting to know each other, meeting their mentees and getting ready to begin their exciting nine month programme. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months. Contact Linus@eyst.org.uk to find out more.

New Team Continues to Wave the Flag 
(From L-R) Selima Bahadur, new Programme Lead; Hasminder Aulakh and Adam Johannes who both join as Policy Officers - all on the All Wales BAME Engagement Team!

Warm welcome to Selima Bahadur, our new Programme Lead and Policy Officers Adam Johannes and Hasminder Aulakh! Congratulations to our previous team and we thank them for all their hard work. Ginger Wiegand is moving on to a very exciting new role in EHRC, Lenaine Foster-Bennett is returning to postgraduate education in London and Rahila Hamid taking a well-deserved early retirement on health grounds. Rahila's amazing work at EYST, particularly in the Newport area is legendary and she is a role model for all of us. Judy Li continues as our Marketing and Communications Officer. We're very excited to be continuing the good work previously led by Ginger. Contact Selima@eyst.org.uk to find out more.

Our new team is busy planning several forums including 'Heritage and Housing: The Gentrification of Cardiff' (Wednesday 27 October), 'Educational Inequality and Race - Where are we now?' (Wednesday 17 November) and 'Employment, Unemployment and Race - The Picture in Wales' (Wednesday 8 December). Each forum will include key speakers in the field and a Q&A discussion to identify the constructive next steps we can take. The team will also be announcing a range of training sessions and opportunities - watch this space! 

In addition, we are continuing to populate our Research Library and Directory of Ethnic Minority Community Groups:
Contact Judy@eyst.org.uk for more information or if you'd like to be featured.
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Myth-busting on the Sanctuary Team for Black History Month
The Sanctuary Team have had a busy few months supporting and trying to help people in difficult times. Our team's efforts have been underpinned by Black History Month and we try to turn thoughts into actions by assisting as many people as we can whilst doing some 'myth-busting' and raising awareness. The pandemic may be easing but the effects of it are still upon us and many of the people we support are still struggling with poverty (financially and digitally).

We are lucky that we had an extension in the Crisis Fund and can continue to help people with much needed items until the end of December. The Crisis Team (Rudina and Nicky) are working through referrals and out on the street delivering items and food vouchers. Our front desk is busy with incoming calls and managing appointments; and the Asylum and Refugee Support is as busy as always, trying to help people. We hope that we can continue to help people in the aftermath of the pandemic and challenge the proposed changes in law that will directly affect them.
With this in mind, we have been delivering Nation of Sanctuary training (with the kind assistance of Helal and Sorupa) and received positive feedback. It is important to raise awareness so that others can also 'bust some myths' and together we can challenge the Anti-Refugee Bill. Should it come into fruition it will leave people in limbo, with no right to stay in the UK and a Home Office focussed solely on sending them somewhere else, bringing an already broken system to its knees (Minnie Rahman 13.07.21 Gal Dem).
Black History is Welsh History

Adopt 'Black History is Welsh History' motto.

A recommendation from Race Alliance Wales' manifesto:

https://bit.ly/3vuFWKo


"Ensure that positive representation of ethnic and racial diversity is embedded across the curriculum and...contributions to Welsh society are effectively represented."


TAKE ACTION today. Endorse RAW's manifesto: https://bit.ly/3C7oM8g

#AntiRacistWales #Rhetoric2Reality

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The BME CYP Team Going Strength to Strength!

Project workers have continued to identify and support children and young people and their families with basic needs such as food, clothing, housing and support to return to school. As well as supporting some older young people in more critical situations such as mental health crises, substance misuse, and domestic violence.

The BME CYP Team have continued to engage with and strengthen relationships with a wide range of partner organisations, drawing in resources widely to direct them to meet the needs of BME Children and Young People in Cardiff, Newport and Wrexham. In particular, we have been working to increase their cultural understanding and the accessibility of their services.

The team currently have 284 active cases of which 44 are new referrals received in the last 6 months and have delivered over 3000 support sessions during the last 6 months. Approximately 200 of these children and young people have been supported through family-based longer-term interventions lasting over 3 months.

The team have been busy delivering a total of 17 awareness sessions to 158 professionals during the last 6 months, which have been very well-received, and have increased cultural understanding.

Please watch the space for Practitioner Learning Seminar - The aim of the event is to engage with our partners to enhance their understanding of barriers and needs of BME children and young people & families, and some potential solutions. Please contact: Fateha@eyst.org.uk

Relationship Building in North Wales!
...and through a new partnership with Wrexham Sounds, our clients have the opportunity to take part in free music lessons and sessions to inspire the next wave of musicians! Lessons begin next month and Wrexham Sounds hope to provide ongoing free music lessons for families in need. Email Lee@eyst.org.uk

Shout out to Mahieddine, a BME CYP client who is developing his professional skills and experience by co-producing a proposal for AVOW’s Youth Lead Grant scheme – the idea connects Refugee and Asylum Seeker families with one another in Wrexham. Big up Harry, a level 6 Youth and Community placement student from Cardiff MET University, who is supporting Mahieddine with this project alongside our Wrexham worker.

EYST Crisis applications are still coming in from North Wales, thanks to the EYST Crisis project and, especially Rudina, for their ongoing support and assistance for clients (-and new people to EYST) in North Wales.

Individual Asylum Seeker clients have been accessing free gym support through small grant funding from the Wrexham Community Cohesion Team. Each are completing a blog to track their experiences and progress. You can read this blog here: https://bit.ly/EYST_GYM_BLOG

Lamya's Placement Comes to an End

Lamya finished her student placement with us recently and what was particularly heartfelt was an email she sent to Helal and the team:

“Thank you all for being so helpful, supportive and friendly throughout this placement. I really had a fantastic time and learnt so much along the way. The placement was everything I could have asked for and more, and at the same time, it is all for a fantastic cause! No matter where you go at EYST, you will always find an inspirational person or a story. Thank you, guys. 

The things that I have learnt will be invaluable to my future placements and career as it allowed getting a real insight into people’s lives, including the perplexities they face every day. However, they are privileged with the high-quality service from such an empathetic, transparent, and hard-working team.  

Big thank you to my competent facilitator, “Helal”, who was professional, supportive, transparent, and friendly, now I feel much better prepared to deal with uncomfortable issues. Moreover, I am also fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with amazing colleagues Tsega and Muhit. Thank you so much.” 

Lamya's final day on placement with the team in the Swansea office!
Thank you, Lamya! We wish you all the best for the future. 😊
Special Announcement for our Helpline!
Live from 1st November, the Multi-lingual Helpline Wales will have a freephone number (0808 801 0720) whilst the text number (07537 432 416) remains the same. Opening hours will also be extended! Email helpline@eyst.org.uk

We are so pleased to announce that we are now a member of the National Helpline Partnership Scheme. This has enabled us to secure a much-needed FREEPHONE number for the Helpline which we are delighted to have. Incoming calls to the Helpline will no longer be charged at local rates to the caller. Our text number and webchat remains the same but our email has changed to helpline@eyst.org.uk

Throughout the past month our new call handlers have settled in very well and have been busy handling incoming client calls, texts and emails from all over Wales. As a team, we speak 7 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Hindko, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu. We also have access to a pool of interpreters in 80 languages to support our clients in a 3-way call.

Having re-launched as the Multi-lingual Helpline Wales, our logo has been redesigned; new leaflets are ready to launch in 13 community languages. The website is being updated to reflect these exciting new developments.

From the 1st of November, our opening hours will be extended. The new Helpline hours will be Monday-Friday, 10.00am-6.00pm. The Helpline staff will operate in two shifts to cover this: 9.30am-3.00pm and 1.00pm-6.30pm.

We continue our drive to network, collaborate and promote this much-needed service across Wales. Please continue to spread the word to ALL your contacts and networks because help and support IS out there, and we CAN help!

Staff Development Day and Bidding a Happy Retirement to Rahila!
After 18 months of lockdown it was wonderful to meet in person, meeting some staff for the first time ever!

We also took the opportunity to wish a happy retirement to an amazing person Rahila Hamid who has worked tirelessly to support others in Newport for nearly 40 years, including in EYST for the last 5 years.  She thoroughly deserves a well-earned rest although we suspect she will still be helping people! She will always be EYST Family 😊

We're now on AmazonSmile!

Every time you make a purchase on Amazon, they will donate a small percentage of your sale to our important work 😊  Simply visit AmazonSmile and follow instructions to select ‘Ethnic Youth Support Team’ as your chosen charity.

Support us to make our vision of Wales where everyone is welcomed, valued and can contribute, a reality.
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