Ashburton Welcome Refugees Group
Minutes of meeting held at The Quaker House on 18th April 2016
Judy Gordon Jones chaired the meeting and welcomed:
Pip Harris, Jo Barley, Alexine Tinne, Nigel Ward, Inga Page, Yaara Gregory, Lucy Lepchani, Leafy Baumgartner, Jenny Donaldson and Hilary Townsend
Apologies were received from: Anne Watts, Sara Wilson and Simon Chater
1) Modern Day Slavery
Pip reported that she had spoken with Ruth L-W. A charity from Bristol called Unchosen make films which highlight the incidents of Modern day Slavery: http://www.unchosen.org.uk
There is a DVD of one of their films with the Totnes group at present.
The films tend to be more about trafficked people than refugees but there was a thought that maybe we could co-host a showing and invite a speaker from Restore charity in Exeter: www.to-restore.org
Yaara questioned whether we ‘fitted in’ with this and as Pip informed us that Ruth is linking with other Quaker groups on this anyway, suggested that we form a steering group to follow up any developments.
Volunteers – Pip, Yaara, Leafy and Inga. Action: YG to call a meeting for steering group & Ruth.
2). South Devon Support Group –
Yaara and Jo Barley will attend the next group meeting on 19th April and report back.
The Totnes and Dartington groups are planning a joint ‘festival week’ in May. As part of this, Yaara will make enquiries as to what exactly our contribution to an event in St John’s Church, Totnes on 13th May would entail. At this point it would appear that we are offering to provide ‘interval’ food – dips, savouries, olives etc. – for approximately 70 people.
Several suggestions on logistics and menus were offered and JGJ agreed to co-ordinate a requirement list on hearing back from Yaara. Action: JGJ to contact Anna Lunk of the Dartington group.
2). What is really needed?
Jo Barley reported that she has yet to contact Totnes School of Language.
Inga, Judy GJ and Sara are to attend ‘About Time’ in Plymouth.
On Saturday 7th May there is to be an event in Plymouth organized by the Syrian Hope Society. This is aimed at attracting refugee families for socialising and conversation. It is hoped that this will then run on the first Saturday of every month. Anyone interested please contact Yaara.
3). New Website, Name, Aims and Objectives
The suggestion by Richard Gonski (via Yaara) that our new title be ASHBURTON REFUGEE SUPPORT NETWORK was unanimously accepted. New aims and objectives were also accepted after a short discussion. They will be advertised on Facebook and our web site.
Yaara reported that Richard Gonski is in the process of building a new website for the group. Great thanks to Richard were minuted.
4). Items collected for refugees in Europe and Syria
Alexine has a connection to RAFT – Refugee Aid From Taunton – and will happily take a car-boot load to Taunton. If we can collect more than that, someone from Taunton will pick up from us. Alexine is happy to be contacted re RAFT.
There is also a collection point at Newton Abbot Racecourse on Thursdays – 2.00 to 4.00p.m. which also links with RAFT taking clothing etc roughly every fortnight.
They will take any donations; things deemed unsuitable can be sold in their shop in Taunton and the proceeds used to buy food and medical supplies.
This is Newton Crisis Aid and they are always looking for volunteers to help sort donations. Contact: Andrew Rose on 01626 351 886 / firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. There is a list of items presently required on RAFT facebook page or www.refugeeaidfromtaunton.org.uk
5). Myth Busting
Simon Chater from Exeter City of Sanctuary has contacted Yaara with an inquiry whether we would be interested in attending a ‘workshop’ on lobbying. All expressed a definite interest in participating in such an event.
Simon also wondered if we would run our ‘myth busting’ workshop at the same event, which Pip and Yaara would like to do. Nigel said one of our group should attend the lobbying day and pass on what they have already gleaned. Yaara will FB all details as they arise.
START – www.studentsandrefugeestogether.com – run a ‘cultural kitchen’ every other Friday from 4.00 to 8.30p.m. The next one is on 29th April.
Beyond Borders do have a web-site for all current events – www.beyondborderstotnes.org.uk
Red Cross in Plymouth link – www.redcross.org.uk/refugeesupport.
7). Crossing Art Project
Pip reported that we have 50 paper boats ready to “float” somewhere. Any ideas for either linking with another project, or indeed launching our own, are most welcome.
TDC have agreed to host re-settle 6 refugee families as and when…
9). Flash Mob
Yaara reported that whilst this could not be arranged in time for United Nations Anti Racism Day she has spoken with Richard Gonski and he has expressed an interest in providing a section of his Torbay Symphony Orchestra to facilitate such an event in May/June this year. There is a suggestion that the piece to be performed be the final chorus of Beethoven’s 9th. Action YG to continue liaising with Richard.
Pip ventured that after the workshop being run by the Exeter City of Sanctuary Group we may know more about the best way to lobby.
Nigel urged us all to continue to write to our MP’s. There followed a discussion on how important it was to write personally as WELL as signing ‘on-line’ petitions from 38 degrees, Avaaz and Change.Org.
Jude GJ and Hilary hosted a soup club evening at Buckland in the Moor and raised £210 for Red Cross. Congratulations were minuted.
Any ideas for a logo for our group please pass to Yaara. An ‘open door’ seemed a popular starting point for the design.
13). Next Meeting called for Monday 9th May 19.30 at the Quaker House.
Chair – Inga page.