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.
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.
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.
25 years of community organising
On 1st October we celebrated TCC's long history as the UK's oldest community organising charity. We're incredibly proud of our achievements, ranging from getting a night shelter set up, ensuring employers pay the real Living Wage, and committing the Welsh Government to funding breakfasts in secondary schools for Wales' poorest pupils.
The special event, celebrating 25 years of community organising, took place online with almost two hundred people attending. Guests included current and former members, partner organisations, and key decision makers MPs, MSs, Councillors and the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford. Community leaders shared stories of how ordinary people have achieved huge changes for themselves and their communities, and what we are planning for the future. During the event, TCC leaders challenged decision makers to commit to a range of asks from their communities on issues including climate change, housing and sanctuary.
Thank you to everyone who joined us, and to the TCC leaders who took part in the event by sharing their experiences.
Whether you've been involved with TCC over the years, or you want to know more about building power and community organising, you can read more here and get in touch.
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.
Celebrations for High Sheriff of Clwyd Community Award Winner, Godwin Akinyele
Godwin Akinyele has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to volunteering by the High Sheriff of Clwyd. Godwin said: “This is not my first award, either here in the UK or in Africa, but I think there is something spectacular about this: being honoured and rewarded for what I simply enjoy doing – giving myself to serving others even when it is least convenient.
I want to say thank you to the office of the High Sheriff of Clwyd for considering me worthy for this award. I also want to express my profound gratitude to the British Red Cross, Welsh Refugee Council, Bawso and TCC for providing platforms to demonstrate my skills and passions. This award is a sure booster; an inspiration to continue in what I know how to do, because reward awaits everything.”
Godwin is a volunteer caseworker for British Red Cross Refugee Services and Welsh Refugee Council. He is also a support volunteer with Bawso. Godwin is also a VOICES Ambassador. People from the VOICES Network are experts by experience on refugee and asylum seekers issues, who contribute to shaping policies, news stories and improving services. Godwin was elected in the year 2019 as the Volunteer Representative of the British Red Cross (Refugee Services) for North Wales. On top of all this, Godwin is a supporter of the Wrexham Town of Sanctuary campaign.
Godwin was nominated for the award by Wrexham Town of Sanctuary, a coalition of individuals, community groups, faith groups and organisations working together to make Wrexham more welcoming for people who have fled their home countries due to war, violence or persecution. Lucy Allin, Wrexham Town of Sanctuary Coordinator at TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru / Together Creating Communities) said: “When a person has been forced to leave their home country, it is vital they feel safe, respected and welcomed into their new community. Godwin’s volunteering makes a huge difference to people who are refugees or asylum seekers feeling welcomed in our communities. This award reflects how highly regarded Godwin’s skills and dedication are, within the community, and by a wide range of organisations.”
Wanjiku Ngotho-Mbugua, regional director of the Wrexham branch of Bawso, one of the supporting organisations involved with Wrexham Town of Sanctuary, and also a TCC member group said: “I’m so pleased that Godwin has won this award. He totally deserves it. He has taken his role as a volunteer very seriously and is available and punctual on all his days in work. He also comes to the office very smartly dressed and cheerful and sometimes I just wonder how he manages to do this every week when his own life is full of challenges- being a sanctuary seeker in Wales.
He has touched so many lives, especially those of asylum seekers, they have all benefitted from his sensible advice that comes from a well lived experience.”
TCC asks Wrexham Council to provide cash to replace free school meals
TCC is asking Wrexham Council to start providing cash to families whose children should be receiving free school meals.
Currently Wrexham Council is providing a ‘grab and go’ system, where a packed lunch for children who would normally receive free school meals can be collected in person every day. However, take up of this means that less than 10% of eligible children have been receiving meals.
Many other local authorities have already decided to give direct cash payments to families, whilst in England a scheme provides supermarket vouchers.
Stephen Garthwaite, headteacher at Ygsol y Grango said “We know there are huge issues around stigma with vouchers, and we’d be very concerned about our parents being able to get to the bigger supermarkets from a more rural area like Rhosllanerchrugog. Many parents are already worried about making journeys out as they have young children or vulnerable adults at home, and they rightly want to adhere to social distancing rules. Vouchers would mean they would have to take longer journeys, and would create additional stress and risk for the poorest families. Cash would provide flexibility and choice, so that people can spend their money in their local shops as normal.”
TCC lead organiser Kay Polley said “Vouchers can only be used at specific supermarkets, so it could be very difficult for a lot of families to use them, unless they live right in the centre of Wrexham. Getting to a supermarket could mean using public transport which is very limited, or walking long distances. As around two thirds of children eligible for the vouchers live in single parent households, many people would have no choice but to take children shopping with them. Nobody should be placed at a greater risk of contracting coronavirus just because they are poor.
We believe the safest, most dignified, and practical response is to transfer cash directly to families so that people can buy food for themselves.”
The voucher scheme currently being used by local authorities in England means vouchers can be spent at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, and M&S. Notably this does not include Aldi, Lidl, the Co-op, or any smaller or independent shops.