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Visit by Georgian Social workers

A very special visit was made to Newport by a delegation of 5 key social workers from Georgia. They came to take part in a seven day training programme being organised by Newport City Council’s Social Work Training Department. During this time they visited both the University of Wales Newport and the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.


The delegation was made up of Tamar Chanturia of the Ministry of Education & Social Services, Lado Pataridze, Head of Resources for Kutaisi and the Imereti Region, Khatuna Gelkhviidze & Ana Kiskeidze, both of Kutaisi Social Services and Irina Samkharadze, a project manager working for EveryChild who acted as interpreter.


The idea for this training visit came when Newport Kutaisi Association’s vice chair, Catherine Philpott and treasurer Sonia Fisher made a visit to Kutaisi last year. They saw at first hand the conditions in the orphanages and the pilot scheme that has been established to improve the status of children’s welfare. It is estimated that in Georgia there are 4,000 children and young adults living in 50 or so soviet style state institutions which lack basic necessities for a decent life. Catherine & Sonia travelled under the auspices of EveryChild, a British Aid Agency working mainly in Eastern Europe with a base in Georgia. EveryChild are consultants to the Georgian government and both are very committed to raising the standards of child welfare.

It is hoped that this exchange will be the beginning of a partnership in social work between Newport & Kutaisi where ideas, skills and friendship will become another aspect of the work of the Newport Kutaisi Association.

Visit by Georgian Social workers

A very special visit was made to Newport by a delegation of 5 key social workers from Georgia. They came to take part in a seven day training programme being organised by Newport City Council’s Social Work Training Department. During this time they visited both the University of Wales Newport and the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.


The delegation was made up of Tamar Chanturia of the Ministry of Education & Social Services, Lado Pataridze, Head of Resources for Kutaisi and the Imereti Region, Khatuna Gelkhviidze & Ana Kiskeidze, both of Kutaisi Social Services and Irina Samkharadze, a project manager working for EveryChild who acted as interpreter.

The aim was to learn of good practice, the development of new legislation and guidelines laid down for the de-institutionalisation of children.



The delegation were advised as to ways children, being brought up in orphanages, could be moved successfully back into family units either with their own families or with families willing to foster.

The visit was supported by the Newport Kutaisi Association, Soroptimist International of Newport & District, the City of Newport & the University of Wales Newport with travel sponsorship from the M4 Business Network Group.

To relax each evening and for two weekends the delegation had an opportunity to meet members & friends of both Associations living in Newport. They were invited to many evening meals, played skittles, visited Big Pit Mining Museum, saw the Roman remains of ancient Caerleon and the modern shops of Cardiff & London. They danced with a Welsh Folk Dance group & heard the famous Blaenavon Male Voice Choir sing.

The idea for this training visit came when Newport Kutaisi Association’s vice chair, Catherine Philpott and treasurer Sonia Fisher made a visit to Kutaisi last year. They saw at first hand the conditions in the orphanages and the pilot scheme that has been established to improve the status of children’s welfare. It is estimated that in Georgia there are 4,000 children and young adults living in 50 or so soviet style state institutions which lack basic necessities for a decent life. Catherine & Sonia travelled under the auspices of EveryChild, a British Aid Agency working mainly in Eastern Europe with a base in Georgia. EveryChild are consultants to the Georgian government and both are very committed to raising the standards of child welfare.

It is hoped that this exchange will be the beginning of a partnership in social work between Newport & Kutaisi where ideas, skills and friendship will become another aspect of the work of the Newport Kutaisi Association.

Meeting the Mayor of Newport at the Mansion House

The Mayor of Newport, Councillor Miqdad Al Nuaimi invited the Kutaisi Social Work team to an afternoon tea at the Mansion House. The event was attended by representatives of Newport Kutaisi Association, Newport Soroptimists, Newport University, Everychild Project and Newport City Social work team. Rosemary Butler AM, the first President of the NKA was also present.





Kutaisi - Newport Visit June 2006

Visit to Newport Transporter Bridge

Read Billy Collier's amazing story

You can imagine the surprise when our five Georgian visitors to Newport this summer stepped on to the Transporter Bridge and started chatting to maintenance operative, Billy Collier, to discover that he had been to Georgia and was able to talk to them about it!

Despite the fact that Newport has been twinned with Kutaisi in Georgia since 1989 most people in Newport struggle when asked where it is. Mr Collier, however, remembers it vividly, saying, ‘I sailed across the Black Sea to Poti and was there for nine days’.

The five visitors from Kutaisi were stunned and delighted. They were in Newport as guests of the Newport Kutaisi Association and Newport City Council Social Services Department to study childcare methods in this country.

Visit to Big Pit Museum Blaenavon

Everyone enjoyed the visit to Big Pit at Blaenavon, site of the World's first Iron works and now a World Heritage site. The Kutaisi team went on the trip to the underground coal face and listened to a Welsh Male Voice Choir. Go to photo album

Skittles Match: Wales V Georgia

The Newport Soroptimists organised a fun Skittles evening at Whiteheads Sports club for the Kutaisi Social work team.

The Wales versus Georgia competition was won narrowly by Wales. The local team had the distinct advantage of having played pub skittles before.

Welsh Folk Dancing




Farewell Dinner at Newport University

Chair of NKA, Bernard Tyson welcomed the Mayor of Newport, Georgian Embassy Consul, Iraki Asashvili and Carol Jones, President of the Newport Soroptimists to the dinner. A wide range of VIP guests attended the farewell dinner in the Boardroom of the University.

As well as mementos of their visit to Wales,our Kutaisi visitors were presented with a special certificate to record their hard work and achievements with our Social work team led by Penny Lloyd Evans.

pub skittles: Pictured left to right Tamuna Chanturia, Khatuna Gelkviidze and Ana Kiskeidze

Life for disadvantaged children in Georgia is often dire, a legacy of the Soviet approach of placing them in huge institutions, and, thanks to Newport City Council Social Service’s Training Department this summer, they were able to undergo an intensive study programme which will benefit Georgia’s neediest youngsters.

Apart from work, the visit gave the group an opportunity to see something of Newport and its surroundings and therefore the chance meeting with Billy Collier which brought back so many memories. Billy has worked on Newport Transporter Bridge for 24 years; in fact he was born within sight of it, in Wolesley Street. But back in the summer of 1964 he was a junior engineer in the merchant navy and on ‘The Orelea’ sailing from Port Talbot to Poti.


He describes how wonderful it was going through the Mediterranean and into the Black Sea – a seven week trip. They spent nine days in Poti, a busy port on the western shores of Georgia, while iron ore for Port Talbot was loaded. He remembers the Georgian women that he met. One was a ganger built like a Soviet shot putter, giving orders to the men loading the ore into the hold. Another took him into a doorway and lifted the hem of her skirt! It appears she was asking him if he had any nylons! The shops in Georgia at that time had next to nothing on sale and certainly not luxury items like stockings.

The seamen were allowed so few roubles to spend ashore that they hit upon the idea of selling some of their possessions. Mr Collier had some clothes and a boiler suit he wanted to sell but the Russians had put three armed guards around the ship, so on a hot evening he walked down the gangway wearing three shirts, two jumpers, the boiler suit tied around his waist, a jacket and his raincoat over the top. One of the guards was suspicious, pulled his raincoat aside and drew his gun. Immediately he was escorted to the police station. There he was stripped to his pants. Wearing the bare minimum he was taken back to the ship where the captain ensured he did not go ashore for the rest of the stay!

Mr Collier was later employed at Llanwern and is now due to retire from his work on the Transporter Bridge next year after a long and interesting working life. He has many more tales to tell!


LINKS

Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge

Newport Museums & Art Gallery

Home >> The Beginning >> Diary of Events Archive 1989-2013