Many of our respite days have been organised by local communities (e.g. Llangenny, Llanfihangel Talyllyn and Brecon) and you can read about them here. We have collated the tips and lessons learned to date below and you can download our ‘Sanctuary Breaks’ flyer here

  • asm r1.750x496 compressedInitial steps:
    • Get in touch with us (HBTSR) to let us know that you are interested in hosting a respite day. We have monthly meetings to which everybody is welcome. We will support any group wanting to work with us on a day.
    • Hold a meeting of potential helpers so they can meet each other and agree on the allocation of tasks.
    • One person would ideally be the contact point and coordinator.
    • Communicate  via HBTSR secretary with the group in question (e.g. Unity in Diversity or Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group) regarding a suitable date with Sunday being a a good day (as there is a drop-in session in Swansea on Saturday) and let them find people who want to come.
    • They usually provide a list with each person’s name, country of origin, interests and needs (e.g. dietary).BUT please be aware that due to the circumstances that many of these people find themselves in, there may be last minute drop outs or changes. The list is a guide only! In our experience we have more families drop out at the last minute than individuals and if a family of 6 drops out it will be harder to fill 6 places than if a single person drops out. For this reason we would recommend trying to host mixed groups of families and individuals.
    • Read the safeguarding documentation (at the bottom of this page).
  • asm r7 hilda group.750x473 compressedSupport provided:
    • We will support you! We will put you in touch with the groups we work with (e.g. Unity in Diversity and Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group in Swansea) so that you can decide on a date and can also help with volunteering on the day and funding if needed. We like the days to involve people who are active group members so that there  is a mixture of new  and familiar faces on the day. HBTSR will provide a ‘listener’ for each event ( someone that volunteers and visitors can approach with concerns)
  • Venue – a venue would ideally have:
    • Catering facilities
    • Crockery and cutlery
    • Tables and chairs
    • HeatingIMG_0652
    • Space for parking (and an area that a coach can access)
    • A play area
    • A private area where babies can be fed and changed (possibly)
    • An area for prayer (possibly)
    • An area for items that have been donated e.g. food, clothing, kitchenware etc. How donations are given should be discussed with the coordinators of the visiting groups e.g. it may be more appropriate for some of the items to be given at the drop-in sessions in Swansea etc.
    • Outdoor space available for football etc.
    • A welcoming, relaxing and friendly atmosphere.
    • Mobile phone reception (or a nearby functioning landline) so any last minute hitches can be discussed.
    • Handwashing facilities if food is being served – an area with a bottle of water and soap could be set aside at picnics.
  • Food:
    • 050416_HBTSR_0018 copyBuffet presentation is advised with tea, coffee, water and juice/squash available.
    • Depending on what time guests are arriving, they may not have had any breakfast and so offering tea, coffee and something to eat on arrival can be a good idea.
    • If cooking meat, halal meat should be used.
    • Vegetarian options should be included.
    • Foods that have proven popular include fruit, salad, bread, hard boiled eggs, spice (e.g. providing some chilli sauce so that food can be flavoured to taste) and sugar for hot drinks. Cake always seems popular as does sending some back to the drop ins. It is worth cutting  cake into small pieces as some people like to taste all varieties.
    • Another meal! Snooker table and table tennis on stage.If possible, having an area where tea/coffee/water is available throughout the day is advisable (a large water heating urn can be very useful for this). Fruit is very popular and so having a bowl of fruit to allow snacking between meals may be a good idea.
    • Past respite days have had an excess of food but there has been very little food wastage as many guests are keen to take food home.  Take-away containers are very useful.
    • Any dietary requirements should be established prior to the event.
    • Allocating someone to coordinate the cooking helps to ensure that any food arrives on time.
    • Eating is an important activity and provides an opportunity to meet and chat. We usually try to eat as a mix of volunteers and visitors.
    • Washing up – a plentiful supply of tea towels and volunteer washer-uppers is advised! HBTSR has a collection of about 30 mugs, large plates and side plates available for loan.
  • Entertainment:
    • 050416_HBTSR_0096 copyBreaking the ice – asking guests and volunteers to state their name, country and interest can be a good way to encourage dialogue.
    • Ideas include football, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, a walk, craft activities (e.g. pottery-making, art and print-making), a play area for children, games (e.g. scrabble, cards, boggle) and story-telling.
    • Some activities are particularly successful in encouraging people to share experiences e.g. bread-making and clay work have lent themselves well to facilitating cultural references and dialogue e.g. varying bread-making traditions and different styles of pottery.
    • Having time to chat is important.
    • Cge4UtlWIAAAg3NMusic with the possibility of dance. Note – on a previous respite day, music and story-telling took place and although both were a great success, they did feel like a performance, thereby creating an audience as opposed to facilitating interaction and participation. Something to consider.
    • Offering a range of activities and allowing people to drift in and out of these can be a good idea. Rigorous structure is not recommended although having a fixed time for serving food which can be staggered is advisable.
  • Funding / Donations:
    • Brecon foodbank may provide food on request to enable guests to take groceries home. The HBTSR secretary will contact them prior to the event.
    • Aldi, Morrisons and Co op have given short-dated groceries in the run up to the event. Our  Supermarket Liaison volunteer will  arrange this but may want help with pick up and storage.
    • Llangenny 6Supporters will often kindly donate items. We have a store of clothing, bedding and household goods which we can share.
    • Groceries and toiletries may be the most appreciated leaving gift.
    • Local businesses and shops have been very generous in supporting respite days with donations in kind to cover the expenses of the day. Please do let HBTSR know of anybody that should be thanked after the day as thanks will be given in the post-event website write-up and cards are available for you to send.
    • Prior to the respite day, it may be possible to hold a fundraising event such as a pub quiz, donations of which can help to support the respite day.
    • HBTSR can help with funding e.g. covering transport costs.
  • Transport:
    • Making bread rollsWe will help with finding a coach company and payment for this or helping to find volunteer drivers.
    • A coach is used on many respite days but in some instances it may be more appropriate to ask for volunteers to pick up guests and take guests home afterwards.
    • On the whole a 53 seater coach makes best sense as we can transport a  number of people and if people drop out on the day there is still a good number to entertain and benefit from the outing.
    • If volunteer drivers are picking up guests – please read the following tips:
      • The drivers need to know who they are picking up to avoid a first come first served rush.
      • Drivers are advised to have plastic bags in case of sickness and something to identify themselves with (e.g. car stickers or a sign on the dashboard etc)
  • Other tips:
    • IMG_1729 compressedMake time for a volunteer briefing prior to guests arriving, which can include discussion of issues such as child protection and the various roles that may need filling with arrangements for rotation so that one volunteer does not wash up all day etc.
    • Some respite days have given each guest and volunteer stickers for names although depending on the circumstances, the guests may all know each other already. Lanyards and name badges are available for volunteers.
    • Depending on the day, some guests may like to participate in helping with the cooking and washing up.
    • If children are coming, it is wonderful if some similarly-aged youngsters from the local community are able to attend.
    • Past organisers have commented that having a structure but also being flexible seems to be the key and although the day may not go exactly to plan, as long as everyone is enjoying themselves it does not matter 🙂
    • Clarification of the division of the responsibilities between various organisers from the outset to prevent duplication of efforts and excessive volume of e-mails.
    • Making sure that all volunteers receive the HBTSR safeguarding documentation (below) prior to the event. The issues should also be discussed in the briefing prior to the arrival of the guests.
    • 050416_HBTSR_0073 copyOne of the main benefits of these days is the facilitation of conversation – encouraging volunteers to make the time to chat with guests is really important. Volunteers should, however, be encouraged to be mindful that refugees and asylum seekers are often asked to recount the trauma they have suffered time and time again to different people and so sensitivity should be exercised. The Swansea group organisers have commented that the respite days are a great time for them to have meaningful conversations with the refugees and asylum-seekers, for although they interact regularly, there is rarely time for them to sit down and talk properly.
    • Photos – it is important to get permission from guests to take their photo but also if using their photos in any publicity post-event. This could be facilitated simply by explaining this in the briefing and/or circulating a form for people to sign at the start of the day.
    • Having a debrief with volunteers at the end of the day is a good way to share experiences and lessons learned. Please do share these with us and we can include any tips on this page. We need to know about any issues to report to our group meetings.
    • Lastly – we will publish a news story about your day on our website  and if you want to help with this, do let us know. You can read about previous respite days here.

Possible Timetable / Outline

  • 8:30 – Begin setting up hall
  • 9:30 – 10:00 bus leaves Swansea- phone call to confirm numbers!
  • 11:00 – Arrival at Village Hall
  • 11-11:30 – Welcome breakfast (bread, butter, jam, tea, coffee, fruit juices)
  • 11:30-13:00 – Group activity/greeting – morning activities:
    • Art/print-making – polystyrene pizza bases needed
    • Bread making – dough needed
    • Five aside football (weather permitting) – football boots?
    • Skateboarding – skateboards needed
    • Badminton
    • Walking (round the village or the lake/to Llangasty/bird-hide)
  • 13:00-14:00 – Lunch:- Beef and vegetarian stew, vegetarian curry, salad, baked potatoes, rice, fruit
  • 14:00-15:30 –Music: local musicians– instruments needed!
  • Afternoon activities:
    • Welsh cake making
    • Walking
    • Skateboarding – skateboards needed
    • Badminton
    • Cake decorating (for children)
  • 15:30-16:00 – Tea, cakes, and coffee
  • 16:00 – Depart

Safeguarding Documentation:

HBTSR Safeguarding Guidelines – Organisers

HBTSR Safeguarding Guidelines – Volunteers