Cathays, more than a student area

Cathays Compass is a charity organization that works to bring the sense of community to Cathays, which is known as the student area of Cardiff.

There are 9,006 main charities and 760 subsidiary charities registered in Wales. Since 2004, the number of charities in Wales has continued to grow.  One of them, is Cathays Compass. Anne Smith, owner of a printer shop in the neighbourhood of Cathays and a qualified coach, started her Cathays Compass project in 2011. The idea came with the aim to help local businesses.

Anne Smith and the Cathays Councillors, Photo: CNP

According to the census of 2011,  70% of the population of Cathays were students. However, Cathays Compass insists that the area has increased its demographic: more young professional couples or  families are moving into this area. In the last few years “this district has become very socially mobile.” That is one of the reasons why Anne, through her Cathays Compass and all the events she runs, works to bring the sense of community to the neighbourhood.

Anne Smith explains that starting a charity is difficult; “financial problems are the main concern, so if you want to run a charity you need to be very focus on what you want.” However, she highlights the fact that generally, people are very open to volunteering; “there is a feeling in the society about support each other,” she says.

Cathays Fair, Photo CNP

Cathays Compass was developed by people from the area: local businesses, faith groups, schools, Councillors, charities and voluntary groups. Its aims are:

  • To help families, residents and/or young local businesses that are living in the area to make them feel part of the Cathay´s community.
  • See what clubs or groups of people want to take part of the community and try to support outreach of information to everyone.
  • To bring all faith groups together, Christians, Muslims and others, to collaborate together on various projects.
  • To work for development of the business of the area. For this, Cathays Compass is working on the possibility of a Cathays Loyalty Card. This could bring the opportunity to give 5% off to other businesses in the area. The charity works to make Cathays economy more resilient.
  • Fundraising is a very important aim for charities: “it is necessary to undertake a lot of community tasks”

St. Monica’s School, Photo CNP

Another activity where the association is involved is ‘Keep Cathays Tidy’. With this monthly activity, residents, Councillors and the association try to work for a cleaner neighbourhood, despite the amount of students living in there.

Keep Cathays Tidy, Photo CNP

Each year, Cathays Compass tries to organise four seasonal events. Harvest and community inclusion event in Autumn; Cathays Christmas tree in Winter, which it was its first one last December; Cathays Fair in Spring, which happened last April, and the Summer Cathays picnic or food which would be the next one.

More events are planned to be done for a short term future. Therefore, if the work of Anne and her Cathays Compass keeps growing, a goal of having monthly events could be aimed.


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