Day Out For Refugees In Ilkley
On 21st April, Christchurch hosted the Wharfedale Refugee Response action group when they welcomed refugee and asylum-seeking families from Bradford and Skipton.
They spent the day, enjoying arts and crafts, listening to a recital from the viola group, and a walk to the Tarn and Darwin Gardens.
This was the second day trip out this year for visitors from Bradford with a further four planned for the coming months. The Wharfedale Refugee Response Action Group are a small group from Ilkley and Burley who came together with the common aim to do something tangible to help refugees who had been forced to flee their own countries.
Working with Refugee Action in Bradford, they have been arranging day trips out for families living in Bradford since 2016, providing an opportunity for them to have much needed breaks, make new friends, experience new parts of the country and to feel a sense of welcome from local people.
Not only do the trips provide a break and breathing room for refugee families under stress, they have provided a great opportunity for local residents and refugees to come together to share stories, experiences and fun. The group has welcomed families from all over the world, including Sudan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Congo, Burma, Pakistan, Nigeria, Morocco, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Iran.
With the help of the local community, the group also organises furniture, clothes, food and toy collections.
After the Christchurch trip, the following comments were made by the families on the train home, which Refugee Action shared with us:
"Thank you so much, we always feel so welcome and just like normal people again when we come to see you all. Please come and visit us in Bradford."
"It was perfect, I met new people and it was so beautiful. I feel so happy."
"Thank you so much for everything, food, smiles, talk, looking after. It was a nice day as ever."
"The day was so good. They all prepared everything so good. The idea to make all the homemade things, I liked it very much. This is so good to make things homemade. And then the place was so different than Bradford. I didn't know it could be so beautiful here. Thank you."
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