Sunderland shows its support for refugees

The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Councillors Robert and Juliana Heron with Canon Sheila Bamber at start of the Walk For Sanctuary from Sunderland Minster.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Councillors Robert and Juliana Heron with Canon Sheila Bamber at start of the Walk For Sanctuary from Sunderland Minster.
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CAMPAIGNERS stepped out to raise awareness of the plight of refugees.

Strollers from The Friends of the Drop-in and Sunderland City of Sanctuary, took part in an event as part of national Refugee Week.

 Called The Walk of Sanctuary, the event, which raised funds for the drop-in group, started at Sunderland Minster and ended at North Shields Reporting Centre.

Reverend Chris Howson of Sunderland Minster, who helped to organise the walk, said: “There are about 192 asylum seekers in the city and we want them to feel safe living here.

“It’s an epic walk for sanctuary, and is symbolic of the kind of journeys that people have had to face to get here.

“Refugee Week plans to launch Sunderland as a city of sanctuary and a place of safety.”

Launched in 1998, Refugee Week aims to cancel out the hostility towards refugees and asylum seekers, and encourage a better understanding between communities living in the UK.

The City of Sanctuary began in 2005 in Sheffield, with 14 more cities now involved, including Sunderland.

Other events taking place this week include Stories for Sanctuary, where asylum seekers will be invited to tell people their own stories.

It will be held at St Mary’s parish hall, Bridge Street, from 7pm to 9pm tomorrow.

Rev Howson said Wearsiders can hear about people’s struggle to find safety.

“It will give people a chance to understand why some people have arrived here in Sunderland,” he added.

“They can learn of the dangers they’ve faced, and the problems they’ve overcome here such as prejudice and racism.”

Also, Sunderland University will host a free screening of the award winning film I Am Nasrine – which portrays the story of the eternal search for a home – on Friday from 6pm at the David Puttnam media centre, St Peter’s Campus,

There will also be an exhibition at The Museum and Winter Gardens on Saturday, from noon to 4pm.

The week will end with a service of Sanctuary at Sunderland Minster at 10am on Sunday.