Last week saw an amazing event at the Tyneside Irish Centre in Newcastle. Over 100 local people gathered to support the work of Care4Calais North East and refugees and asylum seekers in the region. The event included speeches, music, and an auction, and the show was well and truly stolen by two children, Mansukh and Kiya.
Newcastle welcoming refugees
Mansukh Kaur, age seven (wants to be known as Princess Mansukh Kind Lovely Heart Flower) is a pupil at St Catherine’s School, where they have been working on Schools of Sanctuary. She spoke about welcoming refugees into local schools and communities, and about the need to be kind to people. Kiya, aged six and son of Parisa (who organises the Iranian women protests) talked about the situation in Iran and how we wish for the situation to improve. He is highly articulate and charming and had a lot to do during the evening. He drew the raffle and called the auction, his cheeky charm encouraging bids.
Speakers and performers
Clare Moseley, founder and CEO of Care4Calais spoke of it being the worst couple of months since Care4Calais was founded – recent government rhetoric having had such a harmful impact on communities. Clare Bethell, Care4Calais Newcastle hotels lead talked about supporting asylum seekers in temporary accommodation.
Other speakers included Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central and Emma from the No to Hassockfield campaign. Laura Pidcock, National Secretary of the People’s Assembly was on top form and linked these struggles as all connected.
The event was opened by folk singer Bethany Ellen who performed with Ron Brown as The Worky Tickets. Rowan McCabe did a brilliant poetry set and the performance closed with protest singer David McAllister.
All in all £402 was made to provide direct support to asylum seekers in need in this region.
A sense of unity
There were lots of stalls, and many commented the event brought together lots of different groups and provided real networking opportunities. Lynne Saunders from Stand Up To Racism NE, thanked Anya Cook for organising and hosting the event saying:
“Thanks Anya for organising this wonderful event. Such a great atmosphere and real sense of unity amongst everyone there.”
Anya Cook and others work tirelessly on events and initiatives to support refugees and asylum seekers in the region.
Clare Bethell said:
“Anya, thanks so much for all the work you put into planning an amazing launch event. I thought the running order was perfect and the range of perspectives and knowledge of asylum and refugee issues they shared was enlightening. Looking forward to working with you and the DiverCity Hub on future initiatives. Hope you have a good rest today!”
Care, activity and awareness in the North East
Clare Moseley said that it was a great opportunity to meet with volunteers in the North East and it’s great that there’s so much care and activity here.
Jaswinder Singh, director of DiverCity Hub said:
“A good gathering and great awareness created by everyone. Well done Anya. May it grow tenfold and bring change.”