Lampeter campus welcomes new Refugees into community


Refugees from across Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion were welcomed to University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) Lampeter campus by the university’s Widening Access team to facilitate social connections and meet organisations who will provide support.

Craft activities taking place at a welcome event for Ukrainian and Syrian Refugees at Lampeter campus in October 2022

Over 70 people were supported to attend the event, which was held by UWTSD in partnership with Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations (CAVO), the Red Cross, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Aberaid, bringing together Ukrainian and Syrian refugees and their hosts.

Families were assisted with their travel needs on the day, had lunch together and took part in a series of themed, family-friendly activities centred around togetherness and sharing stories, with workshops put on by UWTSD and arts4wellbeing.

In one workshop a mosaic draig goch (red dragon) was created out of tiny individual pieces of paper which all came together to create a beautiful creature with claws of gold. The fragments of paper symbolised how, when strengths, stories, kindness and vulnerabilities combine and people join up, together something greater and stronger than the sum of its parts can be created.

Sara Wentworth, Director of arts4wellbeing said: “There was a heart-warming feeling of community and love in the room as we all worked on something together. Sharing our creativity, thoughts and skills standing shoulder-to-shoulder brought the dragon and the firebird installation to completion. The room was buzzing with kindness and warmth – I feel truly grateful for this beautiful day.” 

The event was organised by UWTSD’s Samantha Bowen, Widening Access Manager, and Elisha Hughes, a Widening Access Officer who focuses on community work and engaging with marginalised groups. Elisha said: “The work of the Widening Access team at UWTSD encourages participation in education for people from all backgrounds.

“We’re committed to promoting inclusivity and tackling social and economic inequalities to ensure that everyone who is able to benefit from education can access what they need to be successful. Through events such as today and the work of our wider team, we communicate this commitment, which is at the heart of our organisation’s culture, to create a welcoming environment of inclusivity and awareness.”

UWTSD is committed to removing the barriers to participation in Higher Education faced by those seeking asylum in the UK, and supports the Welsh Government’s Nation of Sanctuary Refugee and Asylum Seeker Plan. The University is currently applying for University of Sanctuary status which will enable refugees and asylum seekers to access free education and support during their studies.  

Refugees working together to make a red dragon collage out of scraps of paper

Among the day’s attendees were students from Ukraine who have received a scholarship from UWTSD to study MA Global Citizenship & Sustainable Leadership. Anastasia Patiuk is one of these students, and said: “I’ve been in Lampeter for almost a month now, and am thankful to all the people from the University who made the arrival and settling in process so easy. I feel comfortable and safe, am totally in love with all the nearby nature and have never seen so many rainbows in my entire life!

“Moreover, it’s worth noting UWTSD’s great approach to teaching, its friendly and supportive people and its magnificent library. It was a pleasure to meet so many Ukrainians at this event and have the chance to do some very calming craft activities. The earrings I made are now my favourites, and will always remind me of the day and the energy and optimism around me, which was so inspiring.” 

Councillor Rhys Bebb Jones, Deputy Mayor of Lampeter Town Council attended the event and said: “I was so pleased to support such a successful event on behalf of the Town Council. It was lovely to meet so many new families and their hosts, and make connections with the agencies providing support to those who’ve arrived in Ceredigion. I look forward to the next event in spring and convey the Town Council’s continued support for the University hosting such events, and to the families from Ukraine, Syria and other countries who now call Lampeter home.” 

Some of the families in attendance wanted to offer thanks and reflection on the event, which saw many make connections with people whom they had never met, but with whom they shared experience. One said: “I feel such gratitude to be here in your wonderful village and this place where everyone is so kind and generous – we are so happy to be here.”  

Another said: “Thanks everyone for today’s event! The children are delighted and our family is happy.” A third said: “I want to thank all the organisers of today's event. Everything was great! The crafts and communication made the time fly by, and we received a huge charge of emotions and positivity. See you soon!”

Banners showing the support available to the newly arrived refugee families

Further Information

Ella Staden

Swyddog y Wasg a'r Cyfryngau

Press and Media Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

E-bost | Email :

Ffôn | Phone : 07384467078