Refugee Roots

Press Release

Thursday 14th January 2021

Inspirational cookbook shares food, hope, and love.

Nottingham-based charity Refugee Roots has launched a second crowd-funding round to pay for another print run of its popular recipe book, The Sharing Table. Over 200 copies were snapped up late last year as supporters pre-ordered books by pledging £15. Now the charity is responding to demand by giving others a chance to enjoy the 40 international vegetarian recipes by placing orders through the website 

Pre order


Refugee Roots, formerly The Rainbow Project, helps asylum seekers and refugees build relationships and navigate the complexities of coping with a new life in the UK. Based in Nottingham’s Hyson Green, the organisation has been running a monthly Eating and Cooking Project since 2019 where easy-to-make and affordable meals are shared between charity users and volunteers. During the pandemic, Refugee Roots has teamed up with Windmill Community Gardens to run a monthly online Virtual Kitchen.


The creation of The Sharing Table was the brainchild of Project volunteers Lesley Cohen and Kathy Thomas and carries stories from refugees and asylum seekers who are looking for a place to call home.


“I don’t think anything brings a sense of place quite like the smell and taste of food. Coming together to share our recipes and cultures and food is a joy,” says Lesley.


Kathy recalls being refreshed by peppermint tea and a table laden with an array of mazzeh on a visit to Palestine and the West Bank. “We were surrounded by unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells, and as we ate together and shared our stories, new friendships formed. This experience was the inspiration for making this cookbook.”


The monthly exploration of meals takes in Shorba, (an Arabic lentil soup), Kuku Sabzi (a Persian herb frittata) and Challah bread (the Jewish festival staple). Anyone with a sweet tooth can try a Middle Eastern rice pudding, banana cake, and walnut brownies. The recipes are shared by refugees and volunteers alongside their stories and reasons for working with Refugee Roots.


Funding from the Severn Trent Community Fund, Kathy’s Cooking Campaign and the first round of crowdfunding brought the book to life. Designed by supporter Heather Thomas and photographed by Rob Thomas and Jessica Coates, The Sharing Table is not only a recipe book, but an account of the hope and commitment to others demonstrated by Refugee Roots.


Adam Baker, Charity Director says: “I love this book. It is a celebration of food and friendship, and a reminder that we hold these things in common with friends and strangers across the world. It has been a tough year, especially for the people we work to support like Renasi from Malawi who features in the book. By pledging to own a copy of The Sharing Table, you are helping us to do more for those who feel isolated and lonely.


Although we can’t get together at the moment, we can all head to our kitchens and experiment with new ingredients and recipes enjoyed by other cultures.

 Adam Baker

To pre-order The Sharing Table, or to donate to the work of Refugee Roots

Pre order


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

Adam Baker is available for interview.


Image available:


Adam Baker, Charity Director















Background Notes


Based at St Stephen’s with St Paul’s Church in Hyson Green, Nottingham, 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.


To find out more about Refugee Roots visit