Unity in the Community

14 November 2018 | Wales

Meet the mums making a difference on their estate.

There is no shortage of community spirit on the Hillfort Close estate in Cardiff. With regular family fun days, Christmas, Easter and Halloween parties, reggae nights and healthy eating workshops, people on the estate are helping other people all the time.

And it all started eight years ago when mums on the estate got together to plan activities for local kids.

The group were concerned there was not enough for young people to do, so they decided to do something about it themselves.

They got together and started to provide activities, trips and services they thought their children were missing out on. And despite challenges over funding and no premises they could use as a community centre, the group has refused to let anything stop them doing the best for local families.

The mums put on community events such as family fun days and parties at Easter, Christmas and Halloween.

The group, who call themselves Unity, have also organised reggae nights, school holiday crafting classes and cooking sessions with a professional chef to promote healthy eating for families.

And according to chair Dawn Thomas, 43, the activities have brought the community together, kept young people off the streets and reduced anti-social behaviour on the estate. The mum-of-four said: “We live in a poverty-stricken area, and on the estate there are more than 100 children who didn’t have anything to interest them or occupy their time.

“Our estate doesn’t get noticed much, we felt we were being ignored.

“Since we started eight years ago we’ve seen a real difference. Everybody gets involved and shares the same desire to see the community together, helping each other and enjoying themselves.

“The children and teenagers seem proud of where they live now, so they help take care of it. There are fewer kids hanging around on the streets, as the activities have taught them to be more creative and imaginative with their time.”

When the mums were refused permission to use an old abandoned scout hut as their community centre, they moved into a container, where they store equipment like a bouncy castle, tables and chairs, and where they even set up a small kitchen.

The group raise money from raffles and have received no funding from outside the estate.

Dawn said: “We don’t raise much, but we do a lot with the little we have. We try to take groups of children on trips away, although we don’t do it as often as we’d like.

“At Easter we had an Easter bunny handing out eggs to the children.

“We always have events on the go and often get over 100 people helping to make them a success. People are much closer, more active and the estate has become a much better place to live. Everyone’s really proud of what we have achieved.”

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