Preston Welcomes Ten Syrian Families to Preston
Preston is a multicultural, multi-racial city with people of a range of faiths and of no faith. These diverse communities make a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural life of the Preston.
At the end of November 2016, Preston Faith Forum http://www.prestonfaithforum.org.uk/ who run, facilitate, and support activities aimed at raising awareness of aspects of the various faiths, organised a Welcome Event for ten Syrian refugees who have recently settled in Preston.
Since then, a Welcome Syrians! Whatsapp group started which led to Hello Preston! a Family Learning Integration Project for Syrians and asylum seeker family from El Salvador.
Every week, a group of twenty core volunteers pick up a family and bring them to a local church and community centre. Some stay and support the adults in their contextual English conversation classes based on situational English. Other volunteers teach play skills to the thirteen children, ranging from babies to twelve-years-old. We have a break in between the two-hour class where volunteers prepare homemade refreshments and snacks.
Here is a family from El Salvador and three of the playworkers and tea makers.
At the end of December 2016, Hello Preston! organised a Ladies’ Night, which was attended by Syrian ladies, local Muslim ladies and others interested in meeting Syrians.
Ladies brought homemade food which was shared along long trestle tables and various ladies served each other the delicious food from Syrian, Pakistan and India. We would like to organise more of these events and encourage the inclusion of women from more varied backgrounds.
Funding for Hello Preston!
Hello Preston! has since applied for funding to continue with the project which will include ongoing English classes as part of a Family Learning Integration Project, Ladies Home Visits by teachers and playworkers, and weekly food workshops. We hope to be awarded funding for the great work which includes twenty volunteers each week.
City of Sanctuary Launch Event
We will hold the Preston City of Sanctuary Launch Event at the beginning of February 2017, where we have invited the Global Link’s Escape to Safety installation project to run alongside Hello Preston! volunteers in a week-long pop-up exhibition.
At the up-and-coming Launch event, we have invited refugees and asylum seekers to tell their stories, play instruments and dance. A local brass band has agreed to play well-known songs with a theme of peace and welcome. Political hip hop rappers Lowkey and Akala have been approached to attend the event.