Event shines spotlight on plight of asylum seekers in Sunderland

African drumming workshop at a Refugee Week event at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens on Saturday.
African drumming workshop at a Refugee Week event at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens on Saturday.
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A SPECIAL event has been aiming to raise awareness about those seeking asylum on Wearside.

The day, organised by charity Friends of the Drop In, took place at the Museum and Winter Gardens and saw an eclectic mix of food, music and performances.

Southmoor School Choir and dancers entertaining the crowds at a Refugee Week event at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens on Saturday.

Southmoor School Choir and dancers entertaining the crowds at a Refugee Week event at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens on Saturday.

It aimed to draw attention to the plight of asylum seekers in Sunderland and increase cohesion in the community.

Some of the groups performing included Southmoor School Choir, Chosen Generation Gospel Group and Sunderland University African drums.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Iain Kay, and the Deputy Mayor Coun Robert Heron, also attended the event, held as part of national Refugee Week.

 Jane Nikolarakis, secretary of Friends of the Drop In, said: “The day went well and everyone said they really enjoyed it, especially the performances and the food.

“We think about 260 people came, which is really good, and it was a great opportunity for networking for many of the volunteers that came.

“A lot of the asylum seekers that we meet decide to stay in Sunderland because it is so welcoming and a lot of that is down to the work that has been done.

“It was also great to see support from the council, and hopefully we will do the same thing next year and even more people will come.”

Refugee Week was first held in 1998 to defend the importance of sanctuary and show the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.

It aims to show positive images of refugees and to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration.

The charity run a drop in at St Mary’s Church parish hall every Wednesday between 1pm to 4pm and they also run a multi-ethnic women’s group.

For more information about the services they run contact Jane by emailing J_nikolarakis@hotmail.com.

Twitter: @tomwhite7