Evesham Sanctuary Centre - offering support to refugees - is Worcestershire's first - The Evesham Observer

Evesham Sanctuary Centre - offering support to refugees - is Worcestershire's first

Evesham Editorial 25th Mar, 2024   0

THE FIRST sanctuary centre in Worcestershire, providing a haven for refugees and asylum seekers, has been officially opened in Evesham.

The new centre was officially opened by the town’s mayor Coun Alan Booth and is being run by Evesham Vale Welcomes Refugees (EVWR).

The project offers friendship and practical support, a classroom for English lessons, access to a kitchen and a ‘shop’ providing free or discounted clothing.

Centre manager Lindsey Stone. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1324002MMR3 www.buyphotos247.com

Fatima, an asylum seeker from Syria, plans to regularly use the centre.

She said: “Everyone is enjoying this place – it’s very good, very nice and very welcoming.”

Bashar, also from Syria, has just received leave to remain thanks to EVWR which has also helped him to set up home in the town.

He said: “All people here are very friendly.

“I am speechless to thank them. I hope I can work with them to help other people.”

Centre manager Lindsey Stone said around 30 volunteers helped to staff Evesham Sanctuary Centre.

And she added: “This is a place where asylum seekers and refugees know they can come for support and friendship and advice but also to get any clothes or other items that they need because most of them arrive with nothing.

“And we’re very happy to support people in need locally as well.

“We’re here for anyone in need.

“We hope this centre sends out the message that we welcome people particularly those who are fleeing from awful situations, conflict and persecution, and that we extend our friendship and welcome them to Wychavon.”

Mayor Alan Booth cuts the ribbon. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1324002MMR2 www.buyphotos247.com

Coun Booth said refugees and asylum seekers had fitted into the town very well.

“It’s terrible what’s happening in the world, but it’s good that we’ve got this sort of thing. It’s good for unity, good for them and good for us.”

The sanctuary centre is part of the national ‘City of Sanctuary’ movement in which members follow the principles of offering welcome, friendship and support to those in need of support.

The classroom. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1324002MMR4 www.buyphotos247.com

The new centre is based in the Riverside Shopping Centre and opens from 1pm to 3pm on Wednesdays and between 10,30am and 12.30pn on Saturdays.

The Evesham Sanctuary Centre is funded by Wychavon District Council, grants and donations.

New volunteers are always welcome.

Email [email protected] for more on the centre and volunteering there.


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