The Trinity Centre

03 August 2023

Established in 2013, the Trinity Centre in Cardiff coordinates several charities who support refugees and asylum seekers, enabling them to care for some of the most vulnerable people in their community.

Trinity Methodist Church is just minutes away from the busy city centre of Cardiff, perfectly located close to the Home Office and the refugee centre. With its impressive steeple, the church is an iconic building on the skyline of the Welsh capital.

trinity-centre-cardiff-2In 2013 the Methodist congregation who met at Trinity decided that they could no longer afford to maintain the building. The Methodist Church in Cardiff and Caerphilly stepped in and reopened the building as the Trinity Centre which is now known as a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers. “They wanted to sell the building, but we suggested creating a refugee centre instead; a place where they would feel safe,” says Revd Irfan John, Methodist minister and Synod Enabler for the Wales Synod.

The charity Space4U gives clothes and toiletries to those in need, the Welsh Refugee Council and Displaced People in Action support children and families, while Blend is a community café for refugees and asylum seekers to hang out with warm drinks and cakes to have a chat.

Adult Learning Wales teaches English classes to the guests and Student Action for Refugees sends people to chat with the refugees and asylum seekers. “One of the refugees was a news reporter in Syria so in Cardiff he enrolled on a part-time course at the Cardiff and Vale College studying the same field so he can work here,” said Daud Irfan, one of the coordinators. On Fridays, the whole building is a women-only space so that women can feel comfortable enough to remove their headscarves if they wish so.

The Trinity Centre is currently closed for a long-awaited refurbishment until the summer 2024. For the moment, all the charities are housed in nearby churches. After the reopening of the centre there will be much better toilet and kitchen facilities, heating, lighting and a lift so the first floor is more accessible. The refurbishment is possible thanks to grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and funding from the circuit and district. “When they all move back it should be a much brighter, much better space and we hope to be able to engage more actively with the local community,” explains Heather Cox, treasurer of the Trinity Centre, “We did think about buying a new building but decided against, Trinity Church is where we need to be.”

Despite the busy time, the Trinity Centre staff are resolutely looking towards the future and what they can achieve. They want to engage with local schools and have an exhibition at the Cardiff Museum. “We want to make the whole of the community aware of the building, what it is used for and engage them in what's happening here,” confirms Heather. They have set themselves a target of more than 40,000 people coming through the building annually once it is reopened, compared to 18,000 now.

The Trinity Centre welcome is so warm that former asylum seekers, whose asylum claim has been successful, often stay around and volunteer to help and care for the refugees and asylum seekers who come behind them.