Reflect Project

Working in partnership with Barnardos Cymru Reflect project, Mess Up The Mess spent 18 months delivering creative workshops with parents who have had their children removed.   At the end of the programme the participants presented their work at the Reflect Conference 2020 at Cardiff City Stadium in front of 150 professionals  in the form of a documentary film and live performance including their choir debut of the song This is Me from The Greatest Showman – a song which resonated with them in having their voices heard.

The long-term development of this flagship arts intervention enabled us to take time building trust and supporting parents to increase the sense of empowerment in their lives, building their confidence and self esteem as well as providing a break from the norm and somewhere they could relax and get away from their day to day realities.

Workshops included music, visual arts and crafts and drama as well as creating a soundscape for a Radio 4 documentary (

Here is the poem the group co-wrote which shaped the film created by DanDan Films (


We are Reflect
We are thinking positively
We are sharing advice
We are doing things we never thought we could… but
We are not alone

We got this
We are not giving up
We are not taking the easy way out
We are together we are staying strong
We are not alone

We are taking it day by day
We are pushing past our limits
We let nothing stand in our way
We get stronger and learn about our emotions everyday
We are not alone

For today and forever
We are opening up to people and building friendships
We are tackling each hurdle
We are fighting to be positive
We are still alive

We are Reflect and we are not alone

Extracts from interviews with parents:

How has Reflect helped you?
Reflect has helped with personal struggles
It has made me understand more about the situation and find peace in what has happened.
Confidence to go out on my own
Meeting new people and having a laugh together
Learning its ok not to be ok
Made me realise I am not on my own

What is your favourite thing about Reflect?
Being pushed to try new things
It’s nice to get away from reality and feel normal
Telling my story

Why would you recommend Reflect?
Reflect is safe
I can trust Reflect
Reflect makes a difference in peoples lives.
It builds up your confidence and self worth
It shows support is always there.

Is there anything else you would like to say about reflect?
Reflect is honest
It is great knowing there is someone there to listen to me
They put me first
Reflect is there for me
I’m thankful for the group and I don’t know where I’d be without it.