The campaign, being launched at St John Wales headquarters in Cardiff and funded by the WCVA, will address the obstructions people of ethnic minority face to integrating fully into the wider Welsh community. Research has found volunteering helps overcome issues such as language, skills, race and religion. The event will also launch recruitment literature St John Wales has produced in five different languages – Urdu, Mandarin, Arabic, Polish, and English.
Keith Dunn, Chief Executive for St John Wales, said: “We are very excited to launch our new recruitment campaign, Breaking down Barriers. St John Wales is aiming to reach out to those members of the community who may not have considered volunteering before. Learning First Aid crosses all cultural and language barriers, and becoming a member of St John Wales has huge personal and social benefits.”
Pictures drawn by children from St Peters Primary School in Roath, Cardiff will be displayed at the event, showing how people can overcome the problem of making friends and becoming part of the Welsh community. The children will also launch the campaign by running through a paper wall covering the entrance to the event, representing the obstacles to social integration.
Research conducted by Professor Terry Threadgold of Cardiff University highlights the importance of volunteering in overcoming the problems faced by people of ethnic origin into becoming part of the greater Welsh community.
The research found the following factors are pivotal for overcoming the barriers to social inclusion into the greater Welsh community: language, communication and information; building strong communities; and fulfilling potential.
These are all goals that can be achieved through becoming a member of St John Wales and gaining vital life skills, such as leadership and First Aid, and specialist skills such as public relations.
Dr Paul Chaney, a Senior Lecturer and Degree Scheme Coordinator of the MSc in Equality and Diversity at Cardiff School of Social Sciences, said: “Sadly, it is still the case that today members of ethnic communities continue to face barriers to community integration and participation. Research shows that such marginalisation is underpinned by a range of factors such as poor communication, lack of resources, issues of trust, and both direct and indirect discriminatory practices. It is essential that public, private and voluntary organisations draw upon the efforts and expertise of all in a diverse society.”
The event will be attended by a number of senior figures from organisations dedicated to equality and social inclusion to discuss the issues surrounding the topic, including Minister for Social Justice and Local Government, Dr Brian Gibbons, and Ali Albadra from the Welsh Refugee Council. Mr Albadra will also talk on the positive effects volunteering has had on his life.