This weekend Bearwood Action for Refugees held their first fundraiser raising a huge £845 for Leros Solidarity Network who work on the ground with Syrian refugees arriving in Greece.
Thimblemill Library was the venue for Saturday’s RefuTea Party and Bearwood came out in force to support the cause. Live music from The Honeyboy Jones, Jack Goodall and headliners The Bearwood Bandits kept the crowd entertained. A huge array of cakes all baked and donated by the local community were on sale plus a much coveted raffle with items donated by local traders and crafts people including Webbs Walled Garden, Mad as a Hatter, Skylark Rocks, Colette Waudby, Ita McKenna and NandosBroad Street. Local craftivists, Smethwick Craftivistas were encouraging the local community of all ages to get involved with different craft projects, reflecting on the refugee crisis and associated themes.
Prior to this event Bearwood Action for Refugees have collected funds through raffles at the Bearwood Handmade Craft Fairs, bucket collections at Abbey Infant School Christmas performances, sales of their Syrian Toffee Apple Cake at local cafes, playgroup coffee mornings and local donations. Working with local playgroups they also collected 160 colouring books and crayons that were sent to Syrian children for Christmas and in just three months they raised an initial £851 for the cause.
Now with their first event they have almost doubled that, and the group are thrilled:
“When we first started collecting we realised it was a cause close to a lot of people’s hearts, and that they were keen to help in any way they could. But the generosity and support thepeople of Bearwood have shown today has really blown us away!” Leonie Hart, part of the Bearwood Action for Refugees team.
The group first started in September, in response to the increased media attention on the refugee crisis, doing a local call-out for clothes and other items for refugees in Calais. The local community really stepped up and fifteen carloads of donations were taken by the Birmingham-based AmirahFoundation to refugees in need.
(Photos thanks to Sam from Rose and Rainbow photography)
This is such good news. I am proud to live among Bearwood people who feel like this.
This is wonderful, but there are many who whilst supporting legitimate refugees are deeply concerned by the abuse of the system by mass economic migrants. Many of these single males from areas other than Syria are hindering the help of women and children who have a real need for support. Those who shout loudest often get helped most… Money and assistance is needed desperately in countries like Syria, turkey and Lebanon. Calais is a sad example of the abuse of the refugee system, where many refuse to claim asylum in any of the eu countries they have been through to get there. I feel sorry that those women and children still stuck in a war zone who gain little whilst so much support is offered to those who are playing the system. Let’s not be blinkered, and hope this support gets to the real victims…
We need econimic migrants to staff the NHS and, I am told, for many roles in manufacturing in the West Midlands. I think the problem you describe could be solved by allowing employers to recruit from outside the EU more easily. Also, what category are you in if you can no longer feed your family by subsistence farming due to the impact on your land of climate change caused by wealthier countries? An environmental refugee, or just another “economic migrant”?