Care and Community – supporting refugees in Cumbria

The end of June marked Refugee Week, although it feels that the conversations around how we support refugees is an all year round one.

The theme of this year’s week was around ‘healing’ with people and organisations coming together to celebrate care, community and new beginnings.

Third Sector organisations have always come together around the themes of care and community and its no surprise that the sector has been responding to the needs of this community, whether they are Syrian, Ukranian, Afghan or one of the many other nationalities who have been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster. This support ranges from providing accessible activities, English language conversation cafes, celebration of culture events or just a person to talk to through a regular drop in.

Leaving your home for a completely different culture and country is a decision not taken lightly and the reasons behind doing this are often because the risks to stay at home are a risk to their lives and their family. Community groups and volunteers across Cumbria have been providing a friendly welcome and safe spaces for families to adjust, opportunities to engage with a culturally different community, and to know that there are people who care and they can begin that process to heal.

Refugee week offers us a chance to thank the volunteers and community groups who provide these welcomes.

For more information about volunteering with refugee support organisations get in touch with:

Carlisle Refugee Action Group
Penrith and Eden Refugee network
Furness Multicultural community forum
Furness Refugee Support
West Cumbria Refugee Support Network
Carlisle City of Sanctuary
Awaz Cumbria Unity Festival

At one of the recent workshops I attended during refugee week we were asked a question that put in to context the immense decisions that face people who are seeking refuge:

“If all you and your family had was one bag and it was time to leave your home for ever, what might you pack?”

Niall McNulty
District Manager (North)
Cumbria CVS