The Pennally Support Project was a grassroots initiative that aimed to provide assistance and support to asylum seekers who resided in the military barracks in Penally, UK. In September 2020, around 200 asylum seekers were suddenly relocated to Penally, facing challenging living conditions and limited resources. Recognising the immediate need for help, our organisation stepped in to empower these individuals and facilitate their integration into the local community.
We believed in the transformative power of collective action, and thus we assisted the asylum seekers in forming their own self-help organisation. Through this platform, they were able to address individual needs and contribute to the well-being of both the residents in the camp and the host community. Our organisation provided the necessary tools, resources, and guidance to enable the asylum seekers to take charge of their own lives and make positive changes.
One of our primary focuses during the Pennally Support Project was to establish various educational initiatives within the camp. We facilitated the organisation of classes, particularly English language lessons, allowing individuals to develop their language skills and improve their chances of successful integration. Additionally, the project encouraged the formation of art groups, creating a space for creativity and expression.
Recognising the importance of social connections and community engagement, we supported the establishment of buddy systems, fostering friendships between asylum seekers and local residents. This initiative aimed to promote mutual understanding, cultural exchange, and support networks.
Furthermore, the Pennally Support Project organised regular trips and volunteering opportunities for the asylum seekers. These activities provided a chance for individuals to explore the rural countryside, engage in meaningful work, and develop new skills. By actively participating in the local community, asylum seekers were able to contribute their time and talents while forging connections beyond the confines of the barracks.
The project also advocated for improved conditions within the camp. Through respectful and assertive communication, we liaised with the management to address concerns and secure resources for the asylum seekers. As a result of our efforts, a dedicated classroom and part-time use of a gym facility were provided, enabling better access to educational and recreational activities.
Throughout the duration of the project, we witnessed the resilience and strength of the asylum seekers as they navigated the challenges they faced. The project provided a platform for empowerment, growth, and community building.
The Pennally Support Project has now concluded. We are grateful for the opportunity to have made a positive impact in the lives of the asylum seekers and the local community. Our work was driven by the belief that every individual, regardless of their circumstances, deserves dignity, support, and opportunities for growth.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all those who supported the project, whether through donations, volunteering, or providing resources. Together, we created a more inclusive and empowering environment for asylum seekers in Penally and beyond. While the project may have ended, its legacy of compassion and solidarity lives on.
Testimonials from Participants:
“Meeting friendly, lovely people and families who accept us to eat together at the same table and have wonderful conversations is the best thing right now. Thanks to Vicky Moller for providing such opportunities, and a special salute to the hard organizing work she is doing.”
“I am so thankful for the great hospitality I received. It was truly a wonderful day for me. Finally, I feel happy and relieved. I had the chance to meet a lot of kind-hearted people in the community, and they all felt like family to us.”
“I am greatly indebted to you for all that you have done for us. A big shoutout to Vicky and her team as well. Thank you so much. We had a two-day excursion outside the camp to avoid our depression, and we really enjoyed ourselves. We also engaged in volunteering work, laughed, and cooked together. We made new friends and became part of the British and Welsh community.”