Refugee Roots

Press Release

Tuesday 26th April 2022

Refugee Roots secures Arts Council England funding for Access Arts programme

Nottingham-based charity Refugee Roots has secured nearly £30,000 of funding from The Arts Council England to expand its popular arts programme for a further two years. This will provide 70 art sessions each year to cater for increased demand.

Refugee Roots helps asylum seekers and refugees build relationships and navigate the complexities of coping with a new life in the UK. Refugee Roots’ Charity Director Adam Baker says “Now more than ever our Access Art sessions will be a lifeline and of significant importance to our participants who are facing incredible challenges and experiencing deep isolation”. Baker expects that many refugees, including those who will arrive from Ukraine, will find hope and healing in the art provision at Refugee Roots, as it is a safe place to be together. 

Supported by volunteer Theodore Stickley and Lead Artist Antonietta Sacco in partnership with Alison Denholm (City Arts), Diana Ali (Curator) and the New Art Exchange, the newly funded project has launched full of expectation and ambition that refugees are welcomed and valued in Nottingham. 

Already underway, lead artist Antonietta Sacco has been running weekly art sessions in the former Deli-lama cafe in Carrington, in partnership with My Journey CIC who have provided the space and transport for the sessions. Collage has been the focus of these first sessions and a broad range of art forms and expressions will be explored throughout the funded project. 

Participants have said how valuable and important the weekly sessions are to them as it gives them time to try new things, to learn together, meet new people and find some hope despite the challenges they are facing. Alice (not her real name) has attended sessions with her son, and the sessions give her some time to enjoy trying many different things as well as meeting new friends from many different places. 

Alice said: “I really like doing something different each week and I am learning new things each time…I like to see what I can make…I feel I am improving every time”. 

For participants like Fatos the sessions connect him with new friends. Fatos appreciates the inclusive and accessible approach taken by Refugee Roots. He is able to take part and join in despite having limited mobility due to having  suffered from a stroke some years ago. Fatos says: “I enjoy being together with everyone…everyone helps each other and it’s very welcoming”. 

Artwork from the refugee community will be on display during Refugee Week with an exhibition at City Arts from Saturday 18th June. There will be an opportunity to join a clay making workshop on the afternoon of the 21st June with lead artist Antonietta Sacco.  A second creative workshop at the New Art Exchange will take place on the  22nd June with artist Ismail Khokon and wrapping up the Refugee Week celebrations with a final creative afternoon and a musical performance at City Arts on the 25th June, Refugee Roots is pulling out all the stops.



Media contact: Louise Third MBE 07773 288342 / [email protected]

Adam Baker is available for an interview.


Refugee Week 2022

The annual campaign to raise awareness of the lives of refugees around the UK runs from 20th - 26th June. This year’s theme is ‘healing’. 

Refugee Roots

Started by Graham Burton at St Stephen’s with St Paul’s Church in Hyson Green, the Rainbow Project was set-up to address racial inequality and injustice, bringing a vision of a truly diverse and welcoming church. This Christian project, pioneered with a strong commitment to social inclusion, began to focus more on support for refugees and asylum seekers. 

With the increasing focus on providing refugee support the charity re-launched under the new name Refugee Roots in November 2019.

The original charity’s founder Reverend Graham Burton was presented with the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation by the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury in 2018. The award acknowledged Graham and his wife Gillian’s tireless work for peace especially between Christians and Muslims.