Anna McVicker writes:
This week four women from Oxfam's Building Livelihoods and Strengthening Communities group based in South Riverside Community Development Centre took the bus down to Cardiff Bay for an afternoon of coffee and culture. The sun wasn't shining (in fact it was pouring), but we had a lot of fun.
The visit came about after some of the women told me that several of them had never taken a bus ride in Cardiff before. This was for a variety of reasons including not knowing which number bus goes where, how much the fare would be, and where to put your money when you get on
As Cardiff Bay is just a short hop from Riverside, it made sense to start there. We visited the Pierhead Building, formerly the docks head office, in the days when Cardiff was the world's largest port and a massive coal hub. We then headed over to the Millennium Centre for coffee and Welsh cakes, to the accompaniment of some impromptu live music in the foyer.
The visit was fun, but it was also about building confidence. Some women rely heavily on male relatives to transport them around, which is obviously limiting. One woman said she would now feel able to take her daughter and husband to the Bay on the bus, as she knows the route and the fare. It was also a good opportunity to practice English speaking skills, and begin to talk about 'where do you go to in your neighbourhood?'
Future visits being planned include St Fagans, Roath Park, the Senedd building and a trip to Swansea to see the African Community Centre. Roll on the summer!
This project is part of Oxfam's UK Poverty Programme in Wales. It is aimed at boosting social cohesion and community inclusion among black and minority residents in Riverside, Cardiff and is supported by the Big Lottery Fund Wales.