Refugee Week: Walk from Sunderland to South Shields and beyond helps tell stories of those seeking sanctuary

A walk which brought together refugees and their campaigners has helped tell the story of how those fleeing their homeland have found safety in the North East.

Wednesday, 19th June 2019, 9:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th June 2019, 9:10 am
The City of Sanctuary refugee walk starting heading through Sunderland City Centre

The Sunderland Walk of Sancutary left the city’s minister and walked along the coastline to South Shields before boarding the Shields Ferry to reach North Shields.

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There, the 36-strong group gathered for a meal provided by Churches Together.

The event was led by Reverend Chris Howson, chairman of Sunderland’s branch of City of Sanctuary, which helps support language classes, advocacy services and works alongside Amnesty International as it assists those who have come to Wearside as refugees and asylum seekers.

The team covered 20km through the day, with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service among those to show their support for the awareness event.

The City of Sanctuary refugee walk starting heading through Sunderland City Centre

It helped launch Refugee Week, which runs until Sunday, with the minister hosting a picnic from noon, and a host of other organisations also running their own sessions throught the city.

Rev Howson said: "The day went really well and was bigger and better than ones we have done before.

“There was a mix of refugees, supporters, leaders and local people.

“One really good conversation was explaining why the journey helps represent the story of how people come to our area and then we were given a wonderful meal by Churches Together and once again we also had wonderful support in South Tyneside.

The walk covered 20km from Sunderland to North Shields.

“We were also gifted some teddy bears to give to the children of refugees, which is really a lovely gesture as well.”