Pupils from Llandrindod’s Ysgol Trefonnen Church in Wales school proved to be a class act when they helped to welcome Syrian families for a day out on Sunday, September 8.

This is the third year in a row the school has hosted a Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees (HBTSR) welcome event for families who are now settled in Wales and Herefordshire.

HBTSR’s Ailsa Dunn said: “Each of the previous days has included Syrian families from Newtown and some from Ystradgynlais and so the idea of having a day specifically for Syrian families was conceived.

“With the help of Meg Lewis, the Syrian vulnerable person relocation project officer for Powys County Council, and the family support workers Hamed, Fatima and Caroline, Syrian families living in Powys were alerted about the day out and transport was arranged to bring anyone who wanted to come.

“Hereford City of Sanctuary helped to discuss the day with families living in Hereford and sorted out transport. Some people opted to drive themselves and three families now living in Llandrindod were able to walk.”

Barbra Gough, community manager at Ysgol Trefonnen, had approached HBTSR about the day after the success of the previous events.

Ms Dunn said: “I had heard how much the school loved hosting such a day, how the local community were involved and welcoming and most importantly that everyone wanted to do it all again!”

And it was a real community affair, with food donated by SPAR, Aldi and Van’s Good Food, with The Herb Garden Community Cafe doing the cooking. Teachers, governors and Ysgol Trefonnen Friends were busy at the school sorting out hot drinks, biscuits, cakes, donations, clothing, preparing for tea and setting out tables, chairs and outdoor games.

“It was noteworthy that many children were involved in helping to set up and run the day and certainly once the families arrived, children played together regardless of race, colour, creed or even where they lived,” said Ms Dunn.

The school’s pitch hosted a football match and there were games, crafts and face-painting.

The day also featured a visit to Llandrindod Lake, where visitors were able to try their hand at boating.

“The extremely obliging owner and assistants allowed almost everyone to have a go with frequent changes of buoyancy aids and passengers,” said Ms Dunn.

When it was time to return to the school for tea, visitors sorted through donations and anything that was left will help with Ysgol Trefonnen’s ‘Bags to School’ clothing exchange.

There was a display of life-saving by Simon from St John Ambulance and two PCSOs from the local police station were also present during the day.

“Many children wanted their photos taken with the police and most were very keen to be involved in making fingerprint key rings or in wearing stickers,” said Ms Dunn.

“It was an opportunity to highlight that there is no tolerance for hate crime and how to report it if it arose. It was another wonderful day and there were lots of happy people - both visitors and those involved in hosting.

“We’d like to thank Barbra Gough and the staff, governors, pupils and families of Ysgol Trefonnen School for their warm welcome and hard work in ensuring the success of the day, and Ysgol Trefonnen Friends for everything they did throughout the day.

“Thanks to the Herb Garden Community Cafe, Sally, Pat, Dorienne and Amelia for all their hard work and delicious food. Andrew at the SPAR, Aldi and Van’s Good Food for food donations.

“Thanks to Christine and Siggy for beading and other crafts. To the police and St John Ambulance for taking part. And Meg Lewis, Hereford City of Sanctuary and Julia Cotton for their help in recruiting participants and sorting out transport. To Hamed and Fatima for supporting us throughout the day and of course to all participants for making the day so special.”

If anyone wants to read more about HBTSR visit its website, hbtsr.cityofsanctuary.org, or its Facebook page.