St Helens Borough has always opened its arms to those fleeing conflict, and will soon celebrate the contributions of people resettled here during national Refugee Week, starting Monday 20 June.
Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival highlighting the creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.
Through creativity and conversations, under the theme of ‘healing’ Refugee Week 2022 will be a celebration of community, mutual care, and the human ability to start again.
During the week a programme of free arts, cultural, sports and educational events will be held around the borough, with residents invited to attend, including crafts and story time sessions at local libraries.
The programme will give residents a chance to speak with refugees living in the community, and the charities and groups that support them, breaking down barriers between neighbours from different backgrounds.
Among the main events are two football matches – women’s and men’s – between local leaders, councillors and refugees at Sutton Leisure Centre, open to the public to cheer on both sides, on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 June, 6pm.
The British Red Cross will lead a Refugee and Asylum Awareness Raising session via Zoom on Monday 20 June, 12pm.
There’ll be an International Food Garden Party with Adult Community Learning at the Sexton Avenue Community Allotment, on Tuesday 21 June, 4pm.
There’s also Tennis Fun for Beginners at Ruskin Drive Sports Village. Meet outside the Sticky Wicket, overlooking the Cricket Oval at 10.30am on Wednesday 22 June.
And former miners from the borough will lead two walks around Bold Forest Park and the Dream sculpture, from Chester Lane Library at 11am on Wednesday 22 and Friday 24 June.
Full details of these events and many more can be found the full programme online at www.sthelens.gov.uk/refugeeweek.
Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “With the ongoing crisis in Ukraine there is now more focus and public support for the plight of refugees, but it’s vital to remember that there are people fleeing other conflicts around the world, all equally deserving of our compassion.
“It’s a great source of pride for us that we’ve been able to provide those who come to our borough in the greatest need with a safe home in inclusive and resilient communities in which they can make a valuable contribution.
“We hope during Refugee Week that you’ll help us celebrate these successes and the journeys that all refugees have undertaken by getting involved in the week’s events, and go the extra mile to learn about the different cultures of our neighbours that make up the fabric of our communities.”
For more information about the national campaign, visit https://refugeeweek.org.uk