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Not just tea and biscuits

09 Aug 2022

Community News

I’m Jon and I joined the Working Families team in January as a Family Engagement Worker.

My role involves working with our communities to help them develop their own solutions to the problems they face. An example of this is the Biscuit Club that’s run in Bettws with Save the Children.

The biscuit club is a coffee morning for parents in the Bettws area of Newport. Supported by Working Families and Save the Children, the group meet every Monday. Back in January I popped along and met the group of mums, a couple of young children and the fantastic Kerstin from Save the Children. We chatted about what they wanted from Working Families, which was a little bit of training, some advice and support to build confidence. I agreed to pop in once a fortnight and see what I could do.

Well… It didn’t quite work out like that.

Since mid-January, I’ve attended most weeks, working with the group to help them understand what they want to achieve and encouraging them to set their own objectives. As I worked with them, I began to understand that this was more than a coffee group. It was somewhere to grow as people and to get advice, both from professionals and peers. It was a place to share your emotions, meet friends and learn new things. A safe space, outside the four walls of your home.  It was freedom from isolation and a place of encouragement, open to all.

Over the last seven months I’ve seen members of the group grow in confidence, undertake qualifications, and gain employment. I’ve seen them effectively consult with Welsh Government, talking bravely and candidly about their life experiences and the challenges they face. Where they may have come to seek support, they are now looking at what they can do to support others, whether it be street play for kids in their community or applying for funding to support the centre they meet in, they’re doing it.

I’m incredibly proud to work with this fantastic group of people and look forward to continuing to see them grow.

It’s not just tea and biscuits. It’s so much more!

Emma who attends the group said, “Biscuit Club means a lot to me, because it is a place to go to chat with and relate to other parents.  I’m not from Bettws, so before Biscuit Club, I didn’t know anyone and felt really isolated. Now Biscuit Club is in my life, I’ve made new friends and don’t feel isolate as I was.

“It’s a place to go to get support when needed. For my little girl, it’s her chance to play with her friends in a safe environment and knowing she is happy brings me joy and peace of mind.” 

Anouska who attends the group said, “Biscuit Club means a lot to me, because I’m originally a Bettws girl and since I had to move, I felt like I had been taken away from my home. Only recently, when Amanda brought me to Biscuit Club, have I felt more like I belong again. Kerstin and Jon are both really lovely and so welcoming. I feel like I’m home again when I’m there.”

Find out more about Working Families here.