Refugee Roots Christmas Celebration 2021 

“Refugee Roots has provided me with a new family. I am far from my own family and feel the overwhelming love of this community. Sharing a Christmas meal is very special.” Alliance.

Alliance was one of over fifty volunteers and participant guests invited to a special celebration event in December hosted by Refugee Roots in Hyson Green, Nottingham. The Christian charity helps asylum seekers and refugees build relationships and navigate the complexities of building a new life in the UK.

Many of the refugees and asylum seekers have taken part in a year-long Art Project and this event was the perfect opportunity to showcase their creations as well as to share a meal. Under the expert guidance of artist Antonietta Sacco, the participants have used various media to explore common themes of belonging, peace, love and future hope. The sessions were taken online due to the pandemic but resumed in-person, giving everyone a chance to make new friends and encourage each other. This work was made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

Volunteer and befriender Theo Stickley recently retired from an academic career in mental health and has taken a keen interest in the Art Project: “For many years I studied the impact that creating art together can have on well-being. This year’s project has given our guests something meaningful to do. The sessions have been relaxed, enjoyable and have brought joy into otherwise disrupted lives. We can see the pride and the sense of achievement in their smiles.”

Refugee Roots is grateful to the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham for its annual financial contribution towards running costs. Lending his support at the celebration was Bishop Paul Williams who chatted with charity staff as well as with several of those they help. Interviewed for regional television by BBC East Midlands correspondent Jeremy Ball, the Bishop reflected on the need to show love and kindness to all who find themselves far from their home country.

Gill Parker, chair of trustees for Refugee Roots, retired from teaching five years ago and was struck by the empathy and care shown by the charity.

“I love people. Especially meeting, talking to and being with people. Wherever we are from and whatever our life experiences, we all share the same hopes and dreams. If through our volunteering and professional support, we can bring those hopes alive then we can all be proud of our joint achievements”. 


Artwork themes: Peace, Love, Hope

Theo Stickley with Ant Sacco

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