Croeso / Welcome
TCC tackles social injustice by supporting diverse communities to gain the power they need to enact change. We do this through community organising: bringing together local groups, supporting them to set their own agenda, take action, and improve their communities.
Our members are many different faith groups, community organisations, and schools from across Wrexham, Flintshire, and Denbighshire. Any of our members can raise an issue for TCC to work on—so they set our agenda.
We’re always open to new groups who want to join us, so please get in contact.
TCC hosts Accountability Meetings with Senedd candidates
Throughout March and April, TCC leaders have been holding Accountability Meetings with candidates for all constituencies in North East Wales in the run up to the Senedd elections on Thursday 6th May. TCC leaders from across our membership have been chairing and taking part in meetings with candidates standing in their constituency.
These small online meetings with each candidate and TCC leaders have been taking place online via Zoom. During the meeting, leaders have asked candidates about why they are standing for election, as well as specific questions on issues that TCC is working on including the Living Wage, mental health in schools, making Wales a Nation of Sanctuary, housing and climate change. Following all of the constituency candidate meetings, leaders will feed back to their groups and TCC's membership.
On Thursday 22nd April we invited all TCC members to join us for the online meeting with the regional candidates standing in North Wales ahead of the Senedd elections. When voting in the Senedd election you have two votes; the first to elect an MS to represent your constituency, and the second to elect MSs who represent your region. These MSs all represent you equally. You can find out more about how Members of the Senedd are elected in this short video.
The candidates who attended were Calum Davies (Welsh Liberal Democrats), Carrie Harper (Plaid Cymru), Mark Isherwood (Welsh Conservatives), Iolo Jones (Wales Green Party) and Carolyn Thomas (Welsh Labour). This was an opportunity for leaders to hear from the candidates about how they would work together with TCC on issues of local, regional and national importance, if elected. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the event, to the candidates for taking part and particularly to the leaders who chaired the event, managed the timekeeping and asked questions.
TCC and BAWSO ensure people fleeing abuse can access hotels during Covid
Swift action taken by Wrexham charity BAWSO, TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru / Together Creating Communities) and Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire local authorities means people fleeing domestic abuse can be assured that if they arrive at a hotel seeking a room, the hotel is able to provide that accommodation without checking with the local authority first, due to Covid.
The response follows the experience of ‘Moira’, an elderly lady fleeing domestic abuse who was stranded at a taxi rank. A taxi driver put Moira in touch with BAWSO, whose support worker Shamima Chowdhury-Islam contacted local hotels but was informed by staff that due to Covid, they would need to check with the council first before offering Moira a room.
As a support worker, Shamima knows that it takes great courage for someone experiencing domestic violence to take the first step to leave: “the lady was desperate, she just needed somewhere to stay, and didn’t know what to do”. With BAWSO being a member of community organising charity TCC, Shamima worked with them to approach local authority Covid enforcement teams in Wrexham, Denbighshire, and Flintshire to address the issue.
As a result, the enforcement teams have written to local accommodation providers and support services to advise them that hotels do not need to contact the council to seek permission to offer accommodation to people fleeing domestic abuse, but to inform them after offering a safe place to stay.
Domestic abuse has worsened since lockdown, and demand for services has increased, with police in Wales recording a 9% increase in domestic-violence related incidents in 2020 compared to 2019. Even before Coronavirus, in 2019, over 6% of refuge referrals in Wales were declined due to a shortage of spaces, which is why hotel accommodation is also important in providing a temporary safe place to stay. Currently, Welsh Government guidelines state that people are not meant to be staying in hotels unless exempt and approved by the Welsh Government or local council.
Councillors responsible for safer communities have acknowledged the swift action taken by Shamima, TCC, and their enforcement teams across North East Wales. Cllr Hugh Jones from Wrexham states that “even if this only helps one person, it is worth it”, whilst Cllr Mark Young for Denbighshire and Cllr Christopher Bithell for Flintshire are delighted “we’ve worked together on this issue of keeping people safe”.
TCC announces exciting new partnership with Bevan Foundation
TCC is delighted to announce that it has agreed an exciting new partnership with the Bevan Foundation to share expertise to ensure that people’s experiences of social inequality is at the centre of policy development in Wales.
There are two strands to the partnership; the first will look to develop how people’s lived experience of poverty is put at the forefront of policy development in Wales. The activity, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, will seek to build on TCC’s existing activity in the area.
Dr Steffan Evans of the Bevan Foundation said: “The Bevan Foundation is looking forward to working in partnership with TCC. The success of TCC’s recent Stop School Hunger campaign demonstrates how people with lived experience of poverty can bring about real change. It is vital we build on this and ensure that people’s experiences are never overlooked”.
The second will be working together to ensure the voices of migrants are embedded in policy development in Wales. The partnership, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, will explore new ways of involving people with lived experience of migration in policy development, influencing and decision-making in Wales.
Dr Claire Thomas of the Bevan Foundation said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to work in partnership with TCC to ensure that the migrant voice is reflected in decisions which affect them. We think it is vitally important that people with lived experience of migration are involved in the policy making process, but currently many groups of migrants are falling through a policy-gap. Through this partnership we want to ensure they have an organised voice to help them to develop their capacity”.
Speaking about the work TCC added: “TCC and the Bevan Foundation are working together to ensure that people with direct experience of social inequality will be put at the forefront of decision-making in Wales. We are delighted to be working in this partnership, and look forward to working closely with the Bevan Foundation in the future.”
Welcome to new member groups
Recently, TCC has welcomed new member groups from across North East Wales. Llangollen and District Friends of the Earth, We Are Plas Madoc, Wrexham Homeless, Flintshire Do-it, Y Tŷ Gwyrdd and Flintshire City of Sanctuary have all joined TCC in the past few months and we look forward to working with them going forwards.
Warren Davies, Llangollen & District Friends of the Earth, said;
"As a group we wanted to work together with other groups in Denbighshire and expand our reach and contacts. We valued TCCs professional approach to campaigning, and could see that we could benefit greatly from the TCC training. In a very short space of time, we've managed to move forward on issues we've seen little movement in for months. We're hoping that more groups will come on board in Denbighshire, and help us move even more quickly. For members, many are interested in the other campaigning areas covered by TCC, and may wish to get involved with those issues."
Anyone interested in knowing more about building power and community organising is invited to contact TCC for a conversation. Find out more here.
Stop School Hunger campaign update
TCC leader Yvonne is a teaching assistant from Ysgol y Grango who first noticed the problem that pupils who were eligible for free school meals at her secondary school were coming to school hungry, having not had breakfast. Yvonne and other leaders from Ysgol y Grango and Penycae Church of the Nazarene brought the issue to TCC. After researching and finding that this was a Wales-wide problem, it became a national campaign.
At the end of last year, First Minister Mark Drakeford joined TCC leaders at a meeting in Rhyl to announce that the Welsh Government was committing an extra £1 per day to the free school meals allowance in secondary schools. This will allow the poorest pupils in Wales to buy breakfast as well as lunch at school, and will begin as a pilot for Year 7 pupils in January 2021. If successful, this will be rolled out to all eligible pupils.
Watch this short film, produced by Eastwood Media, to hear from Yvonne and the other leaders involved in the Stop School Hunger campaign on how it felt to use their power to bring about national change.
During the initial period of lockdown when schools were closed, TCC worked with other organisations from across Wales to ensure that families whose children would normally be receiving free school meals were appropriately supported. This resulted in the Welsh Government scrapping an ineffective voucher scheme, meaning that the majority of eligible families instead received direct cash payments.
Healthy Minds Haven supported by Wrexham Council’s chief officer
Young leaders from TCC’s Youth in Action group have created a resource and award for secondary schools to improve mental wellbeing in their school communities which has been supported by the Chief Officer for Education at Wrexham County Borough Council.
In January 2021, young leaders met with Karen Evans, Chief Officer for Education & Early Intervention at Wrexham County Borough Council, who supported the ‘Healthy Minds Haven’ resource and award and agreed to encourage local schools to use it. TCC’s Youth in Action group explores issues affecting young people and their communities. The group has been campaigning to improve mental health support in secondary schools across North Wales because they passionately believe that school plays a vital role in supporting students, given half of lifetime mental health problems start by the age of 14.
In a survey carried out by TCC leaders from Hawarden High School, 92% of the school community felt more should be done to support young people around mental health. Healthy Minds Haven is unique as it has been designed by young people who are experts by experience, as a resource and checklist of practical things schools can do to improve mental health support for their students. Schools can work towards achieving the Healthy Minds Haven Award by completing all of the actions if they wish, or they can use the checklist as a resource and still benefit from time invested in creating a learning community that feels positive and confident around the subject of mental health.
In January the young leaders held an online meeting with Karen Evans, gaining her support for the campaign and commitment to sharing the Healthy Minds Haven resource with schools in the area. The Chief Officer also agreed to share the toolkit with local authority counterparts in Flintshire and Denbighshire County Councils and to take forward a request for the resource to be added to the Hwb resource platform for schools in North Wales.
Schools across North East Wales are invited to sign up and show their commitment to improving mental health. The group chose to focus on schools as the environment that most young people spend time in, and where the issue of mental health difficulties seems to be on the rise. Schools will benefit and learn from lived experience of school pupils in their area. A 2020 Barnardo’s report said 85% of school staff worried that lockdown has affected pupils’ mental health and over 70% called for additional staff training.
Secondary schools are invited to register for Healthy Minds Haven and use the checklist which they can download here.