Introducing Welsh Government’s Anti-Racist Community Mentor Areatha Comanescu 

Introducing Welsh Government’s Anti-Racist Community Mentor Areatha Comanescu 

I was born in Cyprus as my Father was in the RAF. My heritage is a mix of Black – Afro Carribean with Grandparents and Great-grandparents from St Lucia, Antigua, USA and White Grandparents and Great-grandparents from Hull, Ireland and Copenhagen.   I have 2 children, who as well as the fantastic mix of my heritage, also have their Romanian Father’s heritage.  

As a Childcare worker and Playworker with extensive experience of working in both a paid and voluntary capacity for 36 years in the UK, Romania and Peru, I have a keen interest in promoting these sectors and raising their profile to bring about a greater understanding of their value and particularly the benefits of Play in achieving positive outcomes for the lives of all children.   

Cardiff for instance is made up of diverse communities, and I believe it is important that there is more representation from these diverse communities in the Childcare and Playwork sector. I am really proud to be supporting Welsh Government in its efforts to develop anti-racist behaviour and policy for both sectors in my new role as Anti-Racist Community Mentor.  

Running an Out of School Club in Cardiff, being a Trustee for Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids Clubs, interpreting, having learned to speak Romanian whilst volunteering in Romania at various points between 1992 and 1996, volunteering with The Birth Partner Project, a charity working with and supporting pregnant women who are asylum seekers or refugees,  have all given me an insight to embrace this exciting new role.  There are 3 main goals for the childcare and playwork sector in Welsh Government’s Anti Racist Wales Action Plan: 


  1. Improving the experience within the workplace so that staff will work in safe, inclusive environments, built on Allyship, supported to reach their full potential, and be empowered to identify and address racist practise. 
  1. Offering more culturally appropriate provision, improving access to childcare and playwork settings as well as access opportunities to play. 
  1. Improving the experience of children so that all children will have the opportunity to explore and celebrate racial diversity in a positive and supportive way. 

Stereotypes and preconceived ideas about people of colour can cause division and create barriers for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.   It is important that this is addressed when looking at the Childcare and Playwork sector and that the voices of those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are not just heard, but really listened to.  We all need to commit to creating an environment that is inclusive and welcoming for our staff and for the families accessing our provision. 

I am fortunate to work in a small but diverse team providing childcare and play opportunities for children aged 4-11 years. This, I feel gives us the advantage of sharing our diverse experiences and opinions which in turn supports us to have a better understanding of the needs of children from diverse communities. 

I work hard to build a good rapport with school staff, parents and children and believe this helps build positive and trusted relationships within the setting which extends outside of the setting and in to the multicultural society we live in. Incorporating activities that explore and celebrate different cultures and our differences are instrumental in developing anti-racist practices within Childcare and Playwork settings and creating an environment where Equality and Diversity are respected.  

During my 22 years in Playwork I’ve had occasions where it has been necessary to challenge discriminatory behaviour or language whilst being mindful of cultural and religious differences that may influence an individual’s views. 

When reflecting on my role as a Playworker, I often think to myself that I hope I am making a difference and having a positive impact on the children I care for. I also think back to my own childhood and the fact that there were no black or brown faced teachers, Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, dance school teachers or music teachers and I now have a much better understanding as to how important it is for children to feel they have someone they can identify with.  

Further Resources 

Anti-racist Practice Resources | cwlwm [Adnoddau Ymarfer Gwrth-hiliol | cwlwm] 

Supporting an Anti-Racist Wales in Out of School Clubs [Cefnogi Cymru Gwrth-Hiliol mewn Clybiau Allysgol – Clybiau Plant Cymru (CY)