MARK LEWIS was asked to share his experience of leading the Hoops and Loops group for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in City URC at a key conference held in the Senedd on improving integration.
He joined a discussion on the LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales: Next Steps to talk about what the invitation called the ‘great work’ of Hoops and Loops in ‘supporting LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers in Wales’.
Now a registered charity, Hoops and Loops meets most days in City URC. Mark was asked, particularly, to share his approach to understanding the different needs and vulnerabilities of people suffering discrimination.
Mark addressed conference delegates and answered questions and comments from the floor in a session called Implementing Intersectional Practices. The conference was organised by Senedd Insight, a group that holds conferences and workshops on matters of public policy to create a forum for public and private sector professionals to hear from experts and inspiring practitioners working in the various fields.
Mark receives many tributes from the people he helps. One he shared with the conference spoke of ‘heartfelt appreciation for everything you have done for me’ and said he had been ‘an unwavering pillar of support, always there to lend a helping hand, a listening ear, and a shoulder to lean on.’
It continued: ‘Your presence in my life has been an incredible blessing, and I am truly grateful to have you by my side. Your kindness knows no bounds. You have a remarkable ability to understand and empathise with others, providing comfort and guidance when it’s needed. Your unwavering support has been an anchor that has kept me grounded during the most challenging times.’
‘Your belief in me and my abilities has given me the strength to persevere, even when I doubted myself. For all these reasons and more, I am eternally grateful. Your compassion and selflessness inspire me daily. Your willingness to put others before yourself is a testament to your character and the depth of your love and care for those around you.’
‘Your acts of kindness, both big and small, have made a profound impact on my life and the lives of countless others. You have a heart of gold, and the world is a better place because of your presence in it.’