Welcome Festival a huge success
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Nearly 400 people attended the Welcome Festival on Saturday 29th October at the Birchcliffe Centre in support of asylum seekers and refugees. Most of the performers on the day were refugees. There was a famous Syrian singer, Moheddin Aljabi and his daughter coming from Bournemouth, the Songo Drummers Project and the Harmony Choir from Leeds and Dave Nelson and Charlie Carr from Hebden Bridge all performing. For the children there was also face painting, arts & craft activities and making figures out of balloons.
About 75 refugees and 30 volunteers were given a free vegan lunch, cakes and refreshments. There were stalls by the two organisations that organised the festival, Calderdale Freedom from Torture and Together We Grow. There were also stalls from the St Augustine Centre and Calderdale Valley of Sanctuary.
"The Welcome Festival showed that local people want to support refugees", says Pat Kemp, chair of Calderdale Freedom from Torture group.
"We know that there is a great need for this support as many of the refugees have had traumatic experiences, lost family members and friends, lost homes and communities - lost a place of belonging. It is not easy to learn a new language, a new culture and meet new friends."
"We have many people to thank for their help with the Welcome Festival," says Laura Beesley, chair of Together We Grow. "Calderdale Community Transport loaned us a minibus and a driver for the day to take some of the refugees from the train station to the Birchcliffe Centre, Hebden Bridge Community PA provided the sound system with two sound engineers, Hilary and others from 3 Valley Vegans provided lunch for over one hundred people. Others served tea, coffee, juice and cakes, did the washing up, etc, etc."
Also thanks to the Birchcliffe Centre for their support and to Community Foundation for Calderdale for their grant, which covered some of the costs.
If you want to make a donation towards the support of refugees in our area you can have your donation match funded and Gift Aided if you do this online here. You can get up to £10 match funded and up to £30 if you set up a monthly donation, says Laura Beesley."
HebWeb News: Calder Valley welcomes refugees.