Community Development at ACE – Sabina Islam

In this blog we hear again from Sabina Islam, one half of our Community Development team, who talks about her experience after being in the role now for nearly 4 months.

Personally, this role has presented me with many new opportunities.  It has been a refreshing transition returning to a formal workforce after many years as a stay at home mum.  It has been an eventful  journey for me of participating at meetings and liaising with various partners and other community organisations, attending courses and interacting with parents and catering the needs for the community as a whole.

With ACE Cardiff I have been attending many events, alongside regularly attending weekly sessions supporting the ESOL classes and the TLC sessions for children on Wednesdays and Fridays.

  • The Friday ESOL sessions run by Claire [at Grange Pavilion] have been very accommodating for me. Recently, I have been assisting more of a teaching role. I get on with the ESOL learners very well and I enjoy the sessions. All the learners express they are enjoying these classes too. One learner provided feedback that I helped explain things well by giving them real examples they could relate better.  These classes also provide me with the opportunity to talk with the local community and discover other potential needs.
  • I regularly attend Wednesday’s TLC sessions led by Fran [at Grangetown Hub]. These after school clubs have been fun interacting with the children.  My involvement includes taking the TLC register and liaising with parents.  In addition where required I support Louise’s ESOL lessons which run in parallel to these TLC sessions such as capturing information if there has been a new member joining the ESOL class.
  • Parents of the children who attended the Techniquest trip over the Easter holidays have given amazing feedback. They are all very grateful for the free admission tickets with their children which gave them the opportunity to visit the science centre which may have otherwise been very expensive for families.  They are grateful to ACE Cardiff and Techniquest, one parent relayed their experience of the trip and mentioned, at times there were gaps as they had to take the kids around to keep them on track but overall loved the experience.
  • I regularly take part in Cardiff third sector network meetings by the Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC). I have attended C3SC’s AGM alongside taking part recently in one of their online courses on Children, Young People and Families Network.   This was an interesting active session identifying how poverty affects young people and what we can do to help.
  • I am pleased with the great success with the childrens activities, Arts and Crafts club offered by ACE Cardiff over the holidays.  We worked hard as a team printing leaflets to advertise by giving out  to organisations, door to door and through social media.  Everytime we hold these holiday clubs more and more new faces appear and parents are surprised by the activities that are offered.As a parent I attended a cookie decorating activity organised by the local council.  At this event I identified that there is a huge demand and interest in having more various types of arts and craft sessions and many parents were enquiring about these.
  • I also helped out recently by purchasing  and creating a canvas colouring session for childrens to take part in the holiday session alongside with Fran. Children very much enjoyed this mindful art and were happy to take home a mini canvas to hang on their wall.
  • I regularly take many photos of ACE Cardiff events which I use on regularly updating our social media platforms.  These help promote and bring awareness of our TLC sessions, our classes and other ACE Cardiff initiatives. Keeping our social media presence updated helps us foster connections with people and organisations.   I enjoy posting on these platforms and this is an area I would like to ensure I plan and develop further.
  • I’m inspired by the FAN club of Friends and Neighbours. A group that connects with the local community and the wider world.  I took part in a group and was fortunate to meet the founder Gill Sanders. I’m amazed how FAN developed into an amazing network of people in Cardiff and south wales.  Gill the founder does not take credit for her hard work even though she has been presented with an MBE in 2014. Gill describes “Everyone who attends her sessions has got an MBE; they all deserve it, not just her”.
  • I established recently there is a great need for adults looking for arts and crafts clubs. This worked particularly well at the arts club held in Butetown recently when parents joined in and knitted their name on a card while kids did painting and other activities.   Going forward, that’s something I would like to formally establish working with parents and do a seasonal adult dedicated arts and crafts club.
  • Other community events I have participated in include attending events celebrating International Womens Week held at Principality Stadium and the Cardiff City Hall, to local events in St Paul’s primary school’s soup event to more recently an Iftar party for the local community.

Each and every event has been a warm atmosphere with food, culture, music and the community.   These community events are an important aspect of everyday life that help encourage people to play a more active part in society and more importantly bring people in the community closer together.

Events such as these help us to be educated about people and places and see the values of our community.   I have future plans to plan and create community events bringing people together with different themes or occasions throughout the year. With the funding available, it helps us to do more for the community, giving people a chance for education, connection and laughter which in turn helps great mental wellbeing for the community as a whole.

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