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Council supporting activities for Refugee Week 2018

News release from 13/06/2018

CAMBRIDGE City Council is supporting events taking place in the city to mark this year’s national Refugee Week.

Among the events being held in Cambridge is a one-mile walk for people wishing to show solidarity with child refugees.

The ‘Walk A Mile March’ from Parker’s Piece to Trumpington Street is being organised by the locally-based charity SOS Children’s Villages UK in partnership with CAFOD to raise awareness of, and show solidarity with, child refugees.

Everyone is welcome to join the walk, which starts on Parker’s Piece from 10.30am on Saturday 23 June.

It ends at Emmanuel United Reformed Church, where people will be able to take part in a ‘Great Get Together’, one of hundreds of community-based events taking place across the country in memory of the MP Jo Cox.

SOS Children’s Villages will also be hosting a free evening of conversation and short films about the experiences of refugees, at Cambridge Arts Picturehouse on Tuesday 19 June from 9pm.

The evening will showcase award-winning short films made by young refugees from the Uprising Project, a programme supporting young asylum seekers in Cambridgeshire.

There will also be a panel discussion with local groups involved with the global child refugee crisis, including Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Programme.

Other events taking place in Cambridge for Refugee Week 2018 include:

  • Great Get Together street party, Flamsteed Road – Saturday 16 June, 5pm-10pm
  • Free talk on ‘Ending Indefinite Detention’ – Friends’ Meeting House, 12 Jesus Lane, Monday 18 June, 7.30pm
  • Free symposium on ‘Refugee Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities in Creative Practice Research’ – Helmore Building Recital Hall, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Wednesday 20 June, 10am-4pm
  • ‘ESOLthon’, a hackathon for ESOL teachers working with refugees – Makespace Cambridge, 16 Mill Lane, Saturday 23- Sunday 24 June
  • ‘Strummers’ concert to celebrate Refugee Week – Saturday 23 June, CB2, 5 Norfolk Street, 7.30pm (tickets £6)

The council’s support for Refugee Week forms part of its work to resettle people fleeing war and persecution elsewhere in the world, and to offer them a welcome and support in Cambridge.

To date, a total of 85 people in 18 families from Syria, Iraq and Sudan have so far settled in Cambridge as part of the council’s response to the government’s commitment to resettle 20,000 refugees.

Another family of three is expected to be resettled in Cambridge this month, while two more houses have been offered to the Home Office, and are expected to provide homes for a further two families later this summer. 

Homes have been offered to refugees thanks to the generosity of private landlords, housing associations and faith groups who, along with the council, are providing the accommodation.

The council has previously pledged to resettle at least 100 people fleeing conflict, under the Home Office Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

Council funding of up to £50,000 over the next two years has recently been agreed for a pilot service offering support, including information and translation, to help asylum seekers and refugees settle in Cambridge – including focusing on people who have arrived in the city outside of government programmes.

Wider community initiatives in the city also continue regularly to send badly-needed aid from Cambridge residents to assist isolated refugees stuck in northern France.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said: “The events taking place in Cambridge for Refugee Week provide an opportunity for us to celebrate the efforts of so many generous Cambridge residents to provide sanctuary for refugees here and overseas. They also allow us to reflect on the reality of the intense difficulties facing people fleeing conflict, and why it is only right that we continue to offer them a warm welcome in our city.

“The council pledged to resettle 100 refugees here as part of the Home Office programme, and we are close to meeting that target.

“We could not have achieved this without the help and support of residents, volunteers and groups such as Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Programme, Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum and Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group.

I would pay tribute to the work these groups, and local charities such as SOS Children’s Villages UK, are doing to tackle one of the most serious issues facing the world.”

Alison Wallace, UK CEO of SOS Children’s Villages, said: “This Refugee Week we invite everyone in Cambridge and beyond to join us at our Walk A Mile March to show solidarity with refugee children worldwide.

“We are asking people to walk a mile in the shoes of a child refugee and imagine how it would feel to lose everything – your home, friends, school, perhaps even family – and make the long and dangerous journey towards a new home, never knowing where the next meal is coming from or who you can trust.

“Many refugee children have suffered terrible trauma, bereavement and loss. They deserve our compassion and respect, yet all too often they are met with suspicion and prejudice as they attempt to find a safe place to call home. By standing together we can fight for their right to be treated with dignity and respect, acknowledge their courage, and show them they are welcome here.”

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