When Rachel Watkin gave a set of chairs to a Syrian family on Facebook Marketplace, she inadvertently set upon a mission to help refugees in need.

Her kindhearted donation led to the barrister discovering the plight of such families living in North Wales, and how difficult it was for them to gather basic household items.

From there, Refugee Kindness was born – a Wrexham-based charity which has – in just 12 months- helped over 250 people rebuild their lives and form friendships after being displaced from their homes.

Rachel Watkin on the far right, at one of the earliest Refugee Kindness events (Image: Christopher Davies / North Wales Live)

The charity operates from the Lock Stock Self-Storage site on Wrexham’s Whitegate Industrial Estate where donations such as clothing and household goods are collected before being distributed to those in need across Wrexham, Colwyn Bay and Rhyl.

A team of dedicated volunteers help 56 families, some from Afghanistan, learn new skills and help them settle into new communities.

The creative workshop in progress (Image: Refugee Kindness)

This is done through the ‘Make Yourself at Home’ project which is held at Tŷ Pawb, a cultural community spot on Market Street, in partnership with artist, Ibukun Baldwin.

Heather Wilson, volunteer coordinator for Tŷ Pawb said: “Make Yourself At Home is a six month project where refugees and asylum seekers in the Wrexham area work with artist Ibukun Baldwin to learn a range of creative making and product design skills, eventually working together to create products for sale in Tŷ Pawb’s market hall.

“As well as learning these practical skills, the sessions also act as an opportunity to make friends and practice speaking English.”

Ibukun Baldwin, who is leading the classes, is a multidisciplinary artist and social practitioner.

Miss Baldwin graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a first class honours in textile design and went on to found Bukky Baldwin in order to use the creative industry to assist with the needs of marginalised communities.

Refugee Kindness was set up 12 months ago
Refugee Kindness was set up 12 months ago (Image: Refugee Kindness)

She told the BBC: “Most people here have had barriers to normal employment routes.

“We’re giving them the opportunity to showcase what they’ve made, design their own products, and sell it here (at Ty Pawb) or for them to be able to use us for a reference for job applications.

“We sit amongst each other… it’s about people growing together. The hope is they’ll get the confidence to go on on their own.”

It is hoped the project could lead to some starting their own businesses, with profits from any sales helping to support new ventures.

The group is planning to sell its first creations at Tŷ Pawb’s Maker’s Market on December 11, 2021.

‘Refugee Kindness’ has also begun its campaign leading up to Christmas in a bid to collect as many donations as possible for the holiday season.

They are trying to gather enough gifts for 100 children and are asking for any spare toys, games, crafts or toiletries to be donated.

You can contact them by clicking here, or by email.

Or if you would like to become more directly involved, you can find out more by volunteering here.

Would you like to get involved? Let know in comments below.