Refugee Week 2017
Refugee Week has been and gone for another year, so it's a good time to take stock and reflect on a week of shared stories, community events and awareness raising.
Derby City of Sanctuary played host to a wonderful variety of events. Whether it was a multi-faith tour, an exhibition of Bosnian culture, a refugee-focused film night, a theatrical realisation of refugee stories or a volunteer action day, Refugee Week was front and centre in the city for those warm, sunny days towards the end of June.
World Refugee Day itself (20 June) was marked by a collection of refugee-related objects appearing in Derby Museum, so that visitors could tangibly engage with the lives of people who had been displaced.
On 17 June, in preparation for the week, a group of volunteers from Upbeat Communities and the British Red Cross descended on Furthest From the Sea to chat with punters and hand out Refugee Week leaflets. Furthest From the Sea, for those who don't know, is a celebration of Derby culture, Derby music, Derby craft.
Many of those who had come to the Cathedral Quarter seeking entertainment were more than willing to chat with us. Those who hadn't heard about Upbeat Communities were generally receptive. In fact, many said they really appreciated the work being done (including one man dressed as a pirate!).
As the stage began to be taken down and the stalls packed up, we reflected that it had been a successful day. Many people had gone home with Refugee Week leaflets, and many more had seen our t-shirts, banners and of course the Red Cross minibus. Fascinating conversations had taken place.
The week itself was a blast. A personal highlight was welcoming the Mayor of Derby to a drop-in at Upbeat Communities. He threw himself into the sewing group that runs weekly at our base on Saint Chads Road, and shared lunch with many of our wonderful neighbours, volunteers and staff.
Sam – Communications Officer