Meet Gwilym Roberts
We are taking the opportunity of the year anniversary of Calan DVS to share career and success stories of Calan staff members. This month we are sharing Gwilym Robert’s story.
Gwilym is the programme facilitator for Calan’s Myrian programme – launched last year specifically for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other gender, relationship and sexuality diverse Individuals. This is an 8-week recovery and resilience programme has been developed in partnership with LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic abuse and the University of South Wales, offering a safe space to chat, learn and support each other.
Gwilym initially became involved with Calan DVS through his previous work in Relate Cymru, where he met a previous CEO of Calan who asked if he’d be interested in being a trustee. Gwilym enjoyed acting as a trustee for quite a few years and helped to steer the organisation through some interesting times! When Gwilym’s role as a trustee ended, the opportunity came up to develop a recovery programme for LGBTQ+ survivors.
Explaining his role as Myriad Programme Facilitator, Gwilym says: “I facilitate the recovery programme for LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic abuse. This includes chatting with people when they are referred, making sure they get the best out of the programme and making sure that everyone on the programme has the best opportunity to engage as much as they want to. I also carry out a lot of training with professionals about gender, sex and relationship diversity. This work links two broad subjects that I’ve been involved with for years, domestic abuse and LGBTQ issues. Ideal!
“We use a wellbeing measurement tool before and after the programme; the majority of participants report a significant improvement. We also ask people to give some written comments about how they have found the programme.” (See below)
Adds Gwilym, “I like that Calan DVS strives to widen its reach and actively attract folk who may not traditionally be engaged with domestic violence services. It seems to me that we are at an interesting time in the VAWDASV world. There’s a lot of innovation and growth and I believe Calan DVS are leaders in this development. I’ve seen the organisation go through a number of CEOs and great change. It’s lovely having Michelle at the helm and having such lovely colleagues.”
Gwilym is also delighted to share some quotes from Myriad clients (please note all names have been changed for confidentiality purposes):
Janet is a Cis queer woman mid fifties
“The programme I believe, is like a sapling it will grow in the direction it needs to, there is no right or wrong.. Only nurturing with empathy and kindness and a gentle hand when needed. This I feel has been provided. Not only by the group but also Gwilym’s natural green fingers of nurturing. Even when showing his human side and own fragilities.”
Gwyn, a Cis gay man in his early thirties.
“I have definitely felt personal growth from attending the program. I feel that I have developed a better understanding of my own past experiences and have had an insight into others who have been through similar and different experiences.
The most surprising part of the program is how much we have all contributed in creating a safe and non judgemental environment where people feel open to share things even though we have never met in person.”
Jez is a Pansexual, non-binary/fem person, neurodiverse, mid forties.
“Gwilym is providing a safe container to explore challenging circumstances. The course is thought provoking and providing fresh insights into old stories, and inspiring growth.”
Ash is an asexual trans man in his mid 20s
“I am thoroughly enjoying the Myriad Programme and the help it’s providing. I’m learning more about myself and using it to better myself and my future.”
Carl is a straight trans man in his 30s
“The Myriad programme is fab. I’ve learned a great deal about a number of different subjects which have in turn, helped me to understand myself. All whilst forming healthy bonds with the others involved, creating a safe space for everyone to share freely about our lives”
Jasmin is a lesbian/queer non-binary person in their 20s using she/they pronouns
“An empowering experience that helped me gain confidence and trust within myself and feel more comfortable in my sexuality. Gwilym is a fantastic facilitator and I feel really lucky to have had his guidance for the past 8 weeks.
Despite leaving an abusive relationship over 2 years ago, prior to the programme I felt fear surrounding relationships. The programme made me realise that there was nothing inherently wrong with me and helped me to feel like I could trust myself again. The way the program is structured was very well thought out to ensure participants felt ready to embark on new relationships and more comfortable within