Sanctuary in the park plan for people struggling with grief

Community group wants to transform bungalow into a haven for those suffering during pandemic

A COMMUNITY group wants to help those who have struggled with grief and loss during the pandemic by creating a centre in Heath Park.

Kindred Roots aims to turn the Heath Park warden’s hut into a space for people recovering from trauma, or grieving the loss of loved ones.

The Cardiff-based social enterprise is one of several groups in discussion with the council, and has proposed a 10-year lease for the site.

Kindred Roots has outlined plans to add more accommodation to the property, build communal and kitchen areas and establish a community-run garden.   

The single-storey bungalow at the back of Heath Park behind the University Hospital of Wales, was built as part of a prisoner of war camp and is now owned by the council.

Sarah North, founder of Kindred Roots, says she wants the space to be a sanctuary for people who feel like “their whole world is falling apart”.

“I want it to be a place for people to retreat to,” she said.

“If you’ve just received a life-limiting diagnosis, are supporting family members in hospital, or are dealing with circumstances that are really traumatic, sometimes the last place we want to go is home, because home is too full of memories.”

In those moments of fresh grief, when you’re thinking ‘I don’t know where to go, I don’t know where to be, I don’t want to be anywhere’ – if at that point someone can receive support, that can be life-changing.”

Kindred Roots feels like a meaningful way to give back to the city that raised me.”

Sarah North, Founder of Kindred Roots

A former finance lawyer, Sarah was inspired to start Kindred Roots three years ago, when she experienced severe burnout due to the pressures of her job. Now, she aims to provide others with the same support she received during her recovery.

It’s something Sarah believes is especially important in light of the tremendous losses suffered by people across Wales during the pandemic.

“Particularly given what we are still going through and the intensity of what’s just passed – there are people who have lost loved ones, and they haven’t been able to go to funerals,” she said.  

“These little rituals we have to help us deal with grief haven’t been there, and so people are sitting with that grief unprocessed.”

Kindred Roots aims to connect communities across Cardiff with projects in the pipeline, including a swap shop for unwanted clothing and goods, and conversational Welsh lessons for parents whose children are attending Welsh schools.

“One of the key things that is important to me is that I’m not assuming what people want, I’m asking what people want and then finding ways to deliver that,” said Sarah.

“Kindred Roots feels like a meaningful way to give back to the city that raised me.”