The stunning Refugee Day Out that will inspired you. Lessons learned.
About 40 families with children, couples and young adult refugees and people seeking asylum were given a welcoming Day Out treat in the beautiful English countryside, in Ribble Valley, Lancashire, on Saturday 23rd July 2016.
It was an exciting and very memorable day for the asylum and refugee community who came from different parts of the world: Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Kosovo.
The community enjoyed games and a picnic by the river. The weather was kind, and everyone had a good time.
The Refugee Day Out was organised by the Roman Catholic Communities of Clitheroe, Sabden & Dunsop Bridge, Ribble Valley, people from other Clitheroe Churches, members of the Clitheroe Mosque, and Revive, a charity that support refugees and people seeking asylum.
At Edisford Bridge the children paddled and played games, learnt how to cook sausages and make bracelets.
A bagpiper turned up to entertain, and our guests were keen to have their pictures taken with him. Later they played diamond cricket on St. Michael and St. John’s school field.
Father John lead the more energetic group of adults on a walk along the eight-mile circuit of the River Ribble. This scenery was beautiful and reminded many of their own country home and farmland. It was therapeutic and emotional for many.
“By afternoon many people gathered at the Mosque on Lowergate, including many Muslim women and children, people from various churches and many Catholics! The Mosque put on a delicious BBQ.
We were welcomed by Sheraz Arshad, a trustee of the Mosque and the new Imam, Ashraf, a young man raised in Blackburn who is very friendly and answered questions we put to him.
The cultural exchange, the social and the games that followed were fantastic, and will surely be remembered by all in the years ahead. Many were already asking if could have such a Day Out again.
Later in the afternoon, everyone headed to Sabden (by the Nick o’ Pendle to take in the views) for a delicious traditional cream tea, put on by Sabden parishioners.
We learned that our love of cream cakes was something we all had in common! It was particularly moving to see the children having so much fun: one 8-year-old lad told me it was the best day since he had left home!
The trip to the countryside provided the refugee community a chance to learn more about their new country, to have a relaxing day out, and to gain solace from the peace and tranquillity of this rural idyll. It also gives an opportunity to be companioned for the day by ordinary friendly UK citizens.
The organizing team, led by Tom Clay, was grateful to everyone for their financial support, practical help, and goodwill. He said noted that, “Just over £1,000 was raised towards the day, and so there are sufficient funds left over in Revive’s account to kick-start a similar event next year. We should give it a go!”
To view more photo coverage of the Day Out, please, click here for the Flickr Photostream