Refugee Roots

Press Release

Monday 12th June 2023

Refugee Roots and Sugar Stealers to host Exhibition on the theme of Compassion for Refugee Week

Nottingham-based charity Refugee Roots and creative project Sugar Stealers will come together on Saturday 17th June at 2.30pm to host an exhibition showcasing art on the theme of compassion for Refugee Week 2023.  Live performances of poetry and light refreshments will be available on the day. The event is free and open to the public. Donations are welcome upon booking or on the day. 

Knitwear artist April McArthy has been busy knitting squares for our Sugar Stealers patchwork blanket that we will use as prop to illustrate ‘COMPASSION’. The ‘COMPASSION’ exhibition will consist of paintings, prints, and poetry textiles all created by each group. There will also be sculptures, photography and artwork made from recycled materials. 

Art brings communities, people and thoughts together and this exhibition has allowed us all to have an equal space to share this. It's rewarding and an honour to be able to help the participants to put ideologies aside and bring different fragments of cultures together. There is no barrier when we all have a space for our stories to be shared. We celebrate our individuality, our personal identities and narratives as one.

Diana Ali

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 are a lifeline and of significant importance to our participants who are facing incredible challenges and experiencing deep isolation”. Baker comments that many refugees, including those from Ukraine have found hope and healing in the art provision at Refugee Roots, as it is a safe place to be together.  

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. Alliance 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.  Alliance 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”. 

The twice-weekly art sessions have brought together numerous partners and organisations  (St Nics Church, Nottingham Playhouse, Tiger Community Hub, City Arts and many more) to make sure that those who have needed the support the most have benefited. 

Arts Council England funded project also has local businesses sponsoring the exhibition, these include Minor Oak Co-Working, John E Wright printers, and The Old Bus Depot. You can also find a Digital Exhibition in the Nottingham Playhouse on Monday 19th June from 1.30pm. 


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

Adam Baker is available for an interview.

Images available: 

Rose, Filimon Tbako

Ada Wong 


Refugee Week 2023

Refugee Roots and events

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.