A GROUP of refugees and asylum seekers are heading to the Dales next week for a ‘breath of fresh air’.
They are being welcomed to the area by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s Diversity, Access, Learning, Environment, Sustainability (DALES) project as part of National Refugee Week, which runs from Monday 20 June to 26 June.
The group, from Darwen Asylum Refugee Enterprise (DARE), will be taking part in a number of events with Skipton Refugee Support Group, including a special service at St Andrews in the city tomorrow (Sunday).
The group, which provides support to asylum seekers and refugees in Blackburn and Darwen, will also benefit from a residence in Broadrake near Ribblehead, where they will stay with Mike and Rachel Benson who have hosted them on several occasions before.
And on Friday evening, Skipton Refugee Support Group hosted an evening of stories, poetry and music to celebrate Refugee Week at Skipton Library.
Members of the group’s refugee community will share their experiences, while the Sanctuary School will display artwork.
Judy Rogers, Project Manager at YDMT, said: “It will be great to welcome our friends from DARE back to the Dales as they enjoy all that this fantastic area has to offer. This year’s Refugee Week is themed “healing” and we will be sharing stories and bringing communities together. There’s no better way to recharge your batteries than being in the countryside with a group of friends.
“Our residency will include a tour of the Ribblehead Viaduct with local historian Sarah Lister, a long walk along Twistleton Scar and then a choice of dry stone walls on High Lot above Southerscales with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust or a workshop pottery with a local potter.
“These events are so important that refugees and asylum seekers are often isolated from the rest of the community. Bringing them to the Dales is literally a breath of fresh air and provides respite from the current struggles of life.
Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and asylum seekers.
Founded in 1998 and held annually around World Refugee Day on June 20, Refugee Week is also a growing global movement.
Through a program of arts, cultural, sporting and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns, Refugee Week enables people from different backgrounds to connect beyond labels, while encouraging understanding of the reasons for which people are displaced and the challenges they face when seeking safety.
Judy added: “It is a difficult time to be seeking asylum in the UK. I would like to thank Skipton Refugee Support Group for continuing to champion the cause of refugees and supporting not only those who have settled in Skipton, but also those further afield, and more recently offering support to those hosting refugees. Ukrainian families in Craven. This work is more necessary than ever. »
Over 10,000 people have participated in YDMT’s People and the Dales project, which is powered by a variety of supporters, including People’s Postcode Lottery players.