As well as offering a warm space, refreshments and a social circle, Welshpool Community Hub is also serving as a base for refugee support.

Since the hub’s re-opening for the winter months as it marks its first year of operation, the space has also served as a useful space for Ethnic Minorities and Support Team Wales (EYST) family support worker Shabnam Brookbank, from Newtown, to offer help to people integrating to the Mid Wales area.

Mrs Brookbank was invited by Welshpool Town Councillor Nick Howells to use the Community Hub as a space to meet with refugees who have recently moved to the area, fleeing from countries such as Afghanistan and Syria, to offer support and advice.

EYST with asylum seekers and refugees at all stages of their journey, and with the communities in which they live to help them adjust to living in a new environment.

As a speaker of five different languages, Mrs Brookbank is well equipped to offer support refugees still integrating into society and said she relates with her own experiences, having lived in Afghanistan only to flee the country following the fall of Kabul and subsequent Taliban takeover in 2021.

She said: “I feel it’s very rewarding to offer support to people trying to start a new life in an unfamiliar place.

“When I arrived I felt as if I had to do everything myself so I understand what many people go through in adjusting to a new area.”

Welshpool Community Hub, located in the town hall, recently resumed its opening hours of Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 2pm to offer support to residents during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

As the hub marked a year since it first opened its doors, Mrs Brookbank noted how it was now also offering a different kind of support to local residents.

She added: “The Community Hub is so important because it’s an ideal place to hold these support meetings. It’s reachable for families who have just arrived. It’s a warm, welcoming space with food and drink that even gives people the chance to interact with a section of the community.

“The process of integrating and all that comes with it can be extremely daunting, but a less formal space like this one makes for a good environment to offer support in getting through that process. It’s a chance to build connections and to learn about what’s happening in the community. It’s a way to feel less isolated.”