Asylum Seekers and Refugees 2024

A Warm & Friendly Welcome to Asylum Seekers and Refugees 2024 from St Hilda’s Parish

On Saturday, 6th July Fr Pat and parishioners welcomed 23 asylum seekers and refugees to the parish hall, supported by friends from other churches and from the local community.

Over the previous weeks we had been given many generous donations of food, toiletries, household goods and clothes which were received with gratitude by those who have so little.  Three ladies from various parts of Africa have been waiting over eight years for a decision on their requests for asylum, having witnessed or experienced violence and assault and unsure whether family members had survived.

A family with 5 children from Afghanistan has been given permission to stay, as mum had been a translator for the British forces, as well as a teacher of English. Dad was an orthopaedic surgeon and shared pictures of knee operations he had performed. They had to flee as women aren’t allowed to work and girls are prevented from attending school, even though the 2 teenage daughters expressed a desire to become doctors. They now face the onerous task of passing the English exam, before taking medical or teaching exams. We heard many tough stories, but they are all determined to succeed and contribute, and become a part of their communities.

After the initial welcome and a lunch of sandwiches, fruit and cakes donated by the Convent and kind parishioners, the children and their parents went with 2 parishioners to the beach for a paddle, followed by an enjoyable half hour at the playground. The adults and teenagers were taken around the town by parishioners and friends, many climbing the 199 steps or walking around the harbour.

A few even enjoyed a short boat trip. They were all impressed by our beautiful town and returned to enjoy a cooked meal, donated by parishioners, friends and the Indian restaurant.

Mary Frankland from Thornaby, who organised the group, always says that

“The most precious gift we give the visitors is the warm, friendly welcome”

The gifts of food and toiletries are the icing on the cake. None of this would be possible without those who kindly give their time on the day, or without the generous donations we receive. Whatever your contribution, you helped to lift the spirits of every one of our visitors.

Liz Atkinson & Marie-Louise Fountain

The next Asylum Seekers event will be on September 14th.

Liz Atkinson

Tel: 07810 644140

Email: atkinsonelizabeth20@gmail.com

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