Refugee Week 2023 – A Summary

Refugee Week 2023 – A Summary

Wow, what a week that was. Refugee Week 2023 flew past, but it was a truly wonderful time with our biggest ever programme of events happening across Berkshire.

This year’s theme was Compassion and it was clearly on display at every single event happening for Refugee Week 2023, from the football tournament, to the art exhibitions, to our flagship film event. Refugees in Berkshire (and beyond) need compassion in action and thank you to everyone that showed it this week and always.

Thank you to all our volunteers, supporters and staff that worked immensely hard to make all of the diverse and exciting events happen over the course of Refugee Week.

Thank you so much to everyone that organised, shared and attended any of our Refugee Week events!

The Events

Flee + Q&A Panel – Thu 22nd June – Reading Biscuit Factory

Our eight annual Refugee Week film screening was a total success, with a packed crowd at Reading Biscuit Factory watching the incredible FLEE before the Q&A discussion with our panel of special guests. The panel had a very poignant discussion about the journeys refugees make, the situation they face in Berkshire and how the wider community can help.

Our guests panel were: Rozhan, a refugee from Iran who spoke incredibly passionately; Oscar Manjengwa, a Support Worker at RSG who is also a refugee from Zimbabwe, Alice Kunjappy-Clifton, CEO of Healthwatch Reading that support refugees in hotels locally; and Cllr Tony Page, Mayor of Reading and supporter of RSG.

The Beginning – Wed 21st June – The MERL

The incredible Rank & File Theatre presented the incredible short play ‘The Beginning’ at The MERL, as part of both Refugee Week and Reading Climate Festival.

The play about the Climate Crisis and displacement was incredibly moving and brilliantly acted. It followed on from the sell out success of ‘Where Do We Go From Here?’ and was again written and performed by refugees and people with disablement.

We were also proud to award Rank & File with a Theatre of Sanctuary Award at the performance for their work to support and amplify refugee voices with their work.

Reading Community Cup – Sat 24th June – John Madejski Academy

Five years on from the first outing, the Reading Community Cup returned and was another brilliant afternoon of community and football. We were particularly proud to have two refugee football teams taking part this year, with Care4Calais Reading FC taking part alongside our own Sanctuary Strikers FC. Giveback United won for the third year running, but all four teams taking part did themselves proud, gave everyone a show and made the event a brilliant example of community and integration in action

In the words of Tomson Chauke, Organiser and Sanctuary Strikers FC Chairperson:
‘For the third year in a row, a day filled with connections and celebration of our community engagement. A massive thanks to all the teams for maximum effort. We really appreciate you Mayor Of Reading, Tony Page; Molli Cleaver (University of Reading), Nick Harborne (Refugee Support Group), Alice Mpofu-Coles (University of Reading) and John Sykes Foundation. Without people like yourselves would not be celebrating. In our world everyone is a winner when we are United. Let’s do this again soon.’

Support Refugees In Berkshire

We depend entirely on donations to provide our vital services.

Please donate now to help us provide refugees in Berkshire with the support they urgently need.

Art Exhibitions

Reading School – Refugee Week Exhibition

Reading School hosted a really wonderful art exhibition for Refugee Week this year. The impressive artworks were by 15 artists from nine different countries, and were really great. The exhibition was also attended by Mayor of Reading, Cllr Tony Page.  

Rising Sun Arts Centre – Damascus in the Eyes of an Artist

Rising Sun Arts Centre hosted an amazing exhibition of paintings by Damascus based artist Malik Alazamia and his brother Ahmad Alazamia who is a refugee here in Britain.

The artworks were really stunning, and Malik’s art was brought over from Syria for this exhibition, which is no small feat!

Turbine House Gallery (Riverside Museum) – Colour Visions 

Talented local artist Lisa-Marie Gibbs has been holding weekly art sessions for refugees at our Friday Drop Ins. This special exhibition displayed work created by refugees from across the world that are now in Berkshire, and it was really inspiring and moving.

We were also really pleased that the exhibition was included in Jelly Reading’s Open For Art Festival, with the work of refugees sitting alongside works by talented artists around the town. 

Support Refugees In Berkshire

We depend entirely on donations to provide our vital services.

Please donate now to help us provide refugees in Berkshire with the support they urgently need.

Sanctuary Awards

Our amazing Sanctuary Partners helped to make this our biggest ever programme of Refugee Week events, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to award them with their Awards Of Sanctuary. During Refugee Week we awarded:

  • Newbury Library as a Library of Sanctuary

  • Rank & File Theatre as a Theatre group of Sanctuary

  • University of Reading as a University of Sanctuary

We are also currently assessing Reading School’s application and making good progress with The MERL and Reading Museum.

Reading City of Sanctuary make these Awards of Sanctuary as part of the nation-wide City Of Sanctuary.

Click here to find out more about Reading City of Sanctuary’s work

Other Ways To Help

Volunteer With Us

If you’ve donated and you want to do more, why not volunteer to help refugees in Berkshire. We’re always after people to help with volunteering. Click here to find out more

Reading Legal Walk

Our next big event is the Reading Legal Walk on Tuesday 20th September.

The Reading Legal Walk is a 10KM sponsored walk along the beautiful Thames path to raise money for our frontline Advice Service for refugees in crisis.

We want you to sign up your colleagues to walk with us and help refugees in crisis. Click here to find out more

Click here to explore all of our upcoming events

Explore photos from just some of our Refugee Week events at the bottom of this page.

If you’ve taken any, please share them on social media and tag us @ReadingRefugees so we can share them! Here are our accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

It was an amazing few weeks celebrating refugee creativity, diversity, and strength across Berkshire and we couldn’t be more proud.

Support Refugees In Berkshire

We depend entirely on donations to provide our vital services.

Please donate now to help us provide refugees in Berkshire with the support they urgently need.

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