Based in Caerau in Cardiff, Liberty was set up by the local community in 2011 to support older people and disabled residents living around Tredegar Way. A lack of local facilities and inclusive activities meant that many members of the community were feeling excluded or isolated. Liberty is a highly localised project that brings members of the Caerau estate together, providing a safe environment for the sharing of experiences and offering of help.
Recognising the importance of fresh air and a change of scenery, a grant of £1,000 from Fund for Wales has been used by the group to organise a number of days out for its members. Ensuring openness and accessibility, specialised transport was also arranged, and so over 40 people were able to bond on buses to parks, National Heritage sights and country pubs. New friendships have developed from the collective memories of these trips, and many of the Caerau residents involved with Liberty feel more connected with their community.
"Prior to the group starting, people would acknowledge each other in the street but no more than that. Now they know each other’s names, stop and talk, visit each other and have developed a robust network of support that means everyone watches out for each other...people feel less isolated as a result."
Liberty is an excellent example of a group that is self run by its own members, ensuring that all of its organised activities are actually in line with what these local residents want. But their work also touches upon the problems that arise through ageing, and living in those inner-city wards with higher levels of social deprivation. Liberty’s work demonstrates that, groups of seemingly isolated people can benefit hugely with access to strong community values. People’s lives can be made easier through sharing and socialising.
"One member who is wheelchair bound has until recently slept in her chair as she has been unable to transfer into her bed. She is incredibly independent and unwilling to have the support of a carer just yet. Through talking to the group and making suggested connections to other agencies our member has been able to source a new bed that she is able to transfer to from her wheelchair. She is ‘sleeping’ in a bed for the first time in years. The difference this has made to her is obvious for all to see."