Sef Cymru

07 October 2020

During lockdown, Wales saw the largest increase in economic inactivity in the whole of the UK, with a 2.3% increase[1] and almost 20,000 businesses in the food and accommodation, arts and recreation and retail sectors temporarily closed for a three-month period.[2]

Income, employment and working conditions have a huge impact on our health. Having a good job can protect health by giving people stability, financial security and the ability to enjoy hobbies and activities, while being unemployed can contribute to poor health by causing financial insecurity, low self-esteem and mental health problems.

Butetown, Cardiff, has historically faced huge economic, educational and social disadvantage, and many local people face unfair discrimination in employment due to the area’s reputation. Although there are several big employers located around the edge of Butetown, recruitment of local people is low. Sef-Cymru brings young people and women together to increase educational attainment, job opportunities, confidence and participation in community campaigns.

Project members of Sef-Cymru

As they began to work with employers, they found that the low number of employees from the local area matched the low number of local applications. The project worked to address this by training local people to run campaigns to persuade employers to commit to fair recruitment practices. Learning to campaign, gaining more employable skills, and working with people in similar circumstances to themselves raised participants’ self-esteem and confidence. It stopped people self-rejecting, to begin raising the number of local applications, as well as beginning to address the unfair stigma surrounding the local area by employers.

Further feedback from employers stated that when people did apply for jobs, local candidates were not always well prepared for interview. Having  run successful educational and training support projects in the past, Sef-Cymru built upon their experience to address this priority and better prepare people for applications and interviews; holding workshops, training sessions, and feedback sessions to enable people to have stronger interviews and a higher chance of securing a job.

During the pandemic, the project continued to support members online and by phone, providing the community with information on jobs and volunteering opportunities, and supporting those who had been furloughed, or were experiencing an even tougher job market.

"Through the BEAT project, residents have had a real opportunity to come to gether and get to know their neighbours better and unite around a common issue which is having an impact on our local area.” Shakilah Malik, Chair

Sef Cymru were awarded £34,588 for their Butetown Employment Action Team (BEAT) which is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through Health Lottery Wales. 

This case study was produced as part of People's Health Trust's 2020 Annual Review and demonstrates how jobs and income are important social determinants of health. To read it in full, click here.


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