Blog

Moving On in New Ways

Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes (RWMK) began in 2015 as a Citizens:mk campaign. It was driven by people who wanted to make a difference at a time of crisis. A couple of years later, we turned Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes into a charity, so we could manage the money that was being given to help resettle Syrian refugees. We are proud to have been part of the generous and compassionate response that has happened in our area. Five years into this journey, we note that many new groups are now working with Refugees and Asylum seekers in Milton Keynes, including Building Bridges, Sanctuary Hosting, Refugee Welcome Schools, and Community Sponsorship groups such as Refugees Welcome Wolverton. We... read more

World Refugee Day: Pillar Unveiled

World Refugee Day on Saturday 20th June 2020 saw the unveiling of a special commemorative pillar at the Milton Keynes Rose in Campbell Park. The event was recorded and replayed to 'virtual attendees' at a special Zoom Town Meeting held on Tuesday 23rd June. We'll be reporting details of that meeting in a subsequent story, and in the meantime you can watch the recording of the World Refugee Day event by clicking on the video below, or going directly to https://youtu.be/T7OpOa6Zu7U... read more

World Refugee Day MK Pillar engraving

From Milton Keynes Rose - News (May 2020), we note the following (excerpt): New pillars to be engraved at the Milton Keynes Rose  Three new granite pillars will be engraved this week at the Milton Keynes Rose, this is made possible by a successful funding raising campaign and a grant from MK Community Foundation. The new pillars were chosen by the pillar panel, chaired by Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, Lord-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire. This panel meets every other year to decide a new pillar engraving from the submissions received from the community group. ... The three pillars that will be engraved this year are; Volunteers’ Week (1 -7 June), part of the inscription on this... read more

British Red Cross helps hard-hit refugees in Thames Valley during COVID-19 crisis 

Kerri Chana, Service Manager from the British Red Cross (BRC) Refugee Support service explains how it is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the region:  The British Red Cross’ response to the Covid-19 outbreak focusses on four key areas of support: the NHS; the vulnerable and elderly; people facing economic insecurity; and refugees and those seeking asylum. COVID-19 has wide-reaching effects on those who have fled persecution or conflict and who have sought sanctuary here in the UK. They may have been separated from loved ones and become isolated, without access to a support network of family and people they can trust. They can face barriers to accessing housing,... read more

Immigrants Saving Lives – Risking Theirs

From The Guardian 7th April: "The artist Jeremy Deller has created a poster celebrating the role of immigrants in combating the Coronavirus to raise funds for refugees, asylum seekers and food banks during the pandemic. Money raised from sales of the poster, which states Thank God For Immigrants, will support Refugee Action and the Trussell Trust, which runs two-thirds of the UK’s food banks. Its muted multi-coloured pastel hues also evoke church posters and Easter. The A2-sized posters, which cost £25, are available from the website of graphic designer Fraser Muggeridge, who collaborated with Deller on the project. Muggeridge said he hoped people would display the... read more

UPDATE: POSTPONEMENT March 21st Truby’s

Truby's Garden Tea Room - 21 March - postponed due to the Coronavirus spread Dear friends and supporters We have decided to postpone our interfaith cafe at the Guildhall for 21 March 2020 due to the Coronavirus spreading. We do not want to put our volunteers and supporters to any risk. *This means we will not be open on Saturday, 21 March 2020.* We were going to fundraise for *MK Hospital Charity - Cancer Centre Appeal* and if you would like to donate then you can do so directly: https://www.justgiving.com/://www.justgiving.com/mkhcharity You can also continue to support Trubys towards our da’wah work which includes our Great Get Together Iftar and hardship... read more

World Refugee Day to have Pillar at the MK Rose – fundraising day 25th Feb

RWMK has been successful in its application to have one of the 106 reserved Pillars at the Milton Keynes Rose in Campbell Park. This commerative/engraved Pillar has been awarded following an application by Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes specifically to commemorate World Refugee Day annually on 20th June, and will be ready in time for that date. To help raise funding in support of the engraving for this and other such Pillars, the Milton Keynes Parks Trust will be holding a Pancake Race event on Tuesday 25 February starting at 11:30, inviting local businesses to enter teams to take part in a relay race around the Events Plateau in Campbell Park (see details... read more

‘For Sama’ wins BAFTA Best Documentary – viewable online

UPDATE 2/2/20: FOR SAMA HAS WON THE 2020 BAFTA AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY.  From the Channel 4 website we note that the film 'For Sama' is still available as an on-demand replay at the link below.  The site describes the film as 'An epic and intimate journey filmed through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria. Waad al-Kateab tells the story of how she fell in love, married and gave birth to her daughter Sama.'*  It is available from Channel 4 for on-demand replay at channel4.com/programmes/for-sama   The film makes harrowing viewing, but shows the reality of what many suffered. *(The synopsis and image connected to this web post both come from... read more

9th Nov: Truby’s Garden

Kurshida writes, "Dear Friends of Trubys, Our next event is on Saturday, 9 November, 12-5 PM at the Guildhall, Church of Christ the Cornerstone.  More information on the attached poster. Our 9 November Trubys Garden Tea Room event is celebrating our Five Year Anniversary! There will be lots of fun including 'guess the sweet', nasheeds and one free meal (cheapest) for every five meals ordered - so make sure your party includes five people!!!  And yes there will be a cake bake off competition for the children with prizes - get your children to bake and decorate a cake and bring it along on 9 November. A panel will judge the cake on flavour and decoration at 3.30 PM. Entry... read more

Syrian Kitchen comes to CMK

At the Milton Keynes Festival of Creative Urban Living (26th September to 13th October), ‘The Syrian Kitchen’ will be serving the best of Syrian food at The Meeting Place on Midsummer Boulevard (opposite The Point, MK9 3NB) - more detailed location info at the end of this article.* The Syrian Kitchen is created by six refugee women from all over Syria who love to cook. All are now living with their families in Milton Keynes and are keen to further their lives in the UK.  The menu reflects their lives in Syria with dishes handed down from their mothers and grandmothers. Food allows them to bring the taste, colours and a little bit of Syria into their new homes. Their cuisine uses... read more

Benefit Concert 21st Sep 7:30pm

Following last year's highly successful autumn fundraiser, we're delighted to announce the following: On Saturday 21st September 2019, 19:30 – 22:30 BST, at St Edward the Confessor Catholic Church, Burchard Crescent, Shenley Church End, Milton Keynes, MK5 6DX, please join us for Autumn Songs: An evening of Light Entertainment with songs ancient and modern Tickets £5, only available on the door, so please arrive early! Come hear some great music, eat some great food*, and support Refugees Welcome MK. *Finger Buffet 2 Course Dinner organised by Truby’s Garden Tea Room (includes Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Halal & Vegetarian dishes) –  separate donations for food are... read more

7th Sept: Truby’s Garden

Kurshida writes, "Dear Friends of Trubys Garden Tea Room, I hope you are all enjoying your summer break and looking forward to welcoming you all at our next event on Saturday, 7 September - 12-5 PM - at the Guildhall, Christ the Cornerstone (300 Saxon Gate West, Milton Keynes MK9 2ES - see poster). More information is available from our FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/1300067740158684/ Please help us to promote the event and looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday, 7 September. Peace and blessings, - Kurshida" As always, Truby's Garden brings together a delicious menu taking you on a trip around the world along with delicious home made cakes and cream teas promoting... read more

Join Us For World Refugee Day 20th June

20th June 2019 marks World Refugee Day, as part of Refugee Week 17th-23rd June.  Please join RWMK and partner groups in celebrating World Refugee Day with a programme of events on 20th June: 6.00pm: Opening celebration, testimonials, MK Mayor statement at MK Rose in Campbell Park (directions)   6.30pm: Continuing discussions including updates about recent RWMK activities (e.g. RWMK Ladies Group and plans for Community Sponsorship group), plus nibbles and soft drinks, all at MK Gallery 'Event Space' (directions)     Click image or here for flyer enlargement: please print to your own preferred size and circulate. Please see our Events Page... read more

800 Attend Iftaar Get Together

Sunday – 19 May 2019 – saw over 800 people from the Muslim and wider communities of Milton Keynes gather at the Campbell Park Cricket Pavilion to break their fast and share an Iftaar.  Iftaar is the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during the fasting month of Ramadan. The Great Get Together Iftaar was organized by Trubys Garden Tea Room – an interfaith pop up café run by Muslim Women living in Milton Keynes which promotes positive dialogue between Muslims and the wider community.  Attending the event and enjoying the multi faith enlightenment were the Mayor of Milton Keynes – Councillor Sam Crooks; Julia Upton – High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire; Iain Stewart - MP for Milton... read more

19th May, 7PM: Great Get Together Iftaar, Campbell Park Pavillion

Kurshida writes, "Dear friends of Truby's Garden Tea Room,  I am delighted to invite you to the Great Get Together Iftaar on Sunday, 19 May, 7 PM at Campbell Park Pavilion. As you will see from the invitation and the programme (see Events page for full details) that we are planning an amazing multi faith enlightenment programme with many activities to build a stronger and cohesive community in Milton Keynes. Please do circulate it within your circle of family, friends and colleagues.  Everyone is welcome and this time there are many interesting activities for the children (and adults should they want to join in!) so please make The Great Get Together Iftaar on 19 May a BIG... read more

9th March: Truby’s Garden

Kurshida writes, "Dear Friends, Just to let you know Trubys Garden Tea Room will be popping up at the Guildhall (back of Church of Christ the Cornerstone: 300 Saxon Gate West, Milton Keynes MK9 2ES) on Saturday, 9 March, 12-5 PM. More information on the poster you see here (click on small image to enlarge), and from our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1263827940408586/ As always we will be bringing together our delicious menu taking you on a trip around the world along with our delicious home made cakes and cream teas promoting interfaith dialogue! Monies raised from the event will continue to support Truby's consolidated efforts to settle Syrian families in Milton... read more

#ExtendTheWelcome: An MK Family’s Story (Video)

A resettled Syrian family from Milton Keynes took to the stage on 29th June* at the Citizens UK Civil Society Summit in London to launch the #ExtendTheWelcome Campaign – which is all about making sure the UK government continues to resettle refugees once the current programme ends in 2020. At the event, more than 200 civil society leaders from Mosques, Churches, schools and other organisations from across the UK joined together in London to celebrate the government's and communities' support for thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the horror of war. As part of the event, Citizens UK launched a campaign urging the Home Secretary to extend the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement... read more

Concert Videos/Update

The Benefit Concert held on Sat 29th September, as reported previously, was a sell-out success, raising just over £1000 in support of Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes. Now we're delighted to present a message and links to a number of delightful video clips that we received from Andy Gilbert, the music maestro behind the concert and the One World Club MK organisation that created the event.   Here's what Andy writes: Dear Folks On 29th September 2018 One World Club ‘lowered its curtain,’ for the last time. It ended with the bang I hoped it would. Everything you could imagine went perfectly. The icing on the cake was raising £1,000 for Syrian refugees starting... read more

Sat 3rd Nov, Noon-5pm: Truby’s

Kurshida Mirza writes: "I am delighted to let you know that Trubys Garden Tea Room will be open on Saturday, 3 November, 12-5 at the Guildhall, Church of Christ the Cornerstone (see poster below and our FB: Truby's Garden Tea Room) As usual we will be serving our delicious home made lunches and afternoon tea in support of our continuing efforts to fundraise to enable the settlement of Syrian refugee families in Milton Keynes working in partnership with the British Red Cross and Refugees Welcome MK. With the grace of God we successfully achieved our target of £3k to support the settlement of the families who arrived in September - a BIG thanks to everyone who helped including... read more

Concert Sell-Out Raises £1K

  The Benefit Concert held on Sat 29th September was a sell-out success.  The full-house audience were treated to great World Music courtesy One World Club MK, and a wonderful World Food Buffet courtesy the Events Team at St Edward the Confessor Catholic Church. Including advance and on-the-door ticket sales and extra donations collected during the evening, we raised just over £1000 in support of Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes.  In addition to the wonderful food during the interval, we were treated to stellar performances from: Bilal Walasali (Syrian Singer) Crossroots (Jewish/Caribbean/French Canadian music Leon Silver (Singer of Greek songs) Free Peace Band... read more

Tickets going fast – Concert 29th Sept

UPDATE: Tickets are selling fast for this Saturday's Benefit Concert, and we cannot guarantee having any left at the door. Therefore, we encourage you to book online and also to please arrive early, as the show will start promptly at 7:30. On Sat 29 September 2018, 19:30 – 22:30 BST, at St Edward the Confessor Catholic Church, Burchard Crescent, Shenley Church End, Milton Keynes, MK5 6DX, One World Club MK will be presenting a benefit concert to raise funds for Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes. Come hear some great World Music, eat some great World Food*, and support Refugees Welcome MK! *World Food Buffet (incl. Halal & Vegan) during the interval (separate donations for food... read more

8 September Noon-5PM: Truby’s Garden Tea Room

Kurshida Mirza writes: "Dear Trubys Supporters, After a long break, we are back! Trubys Garden Tea Room will be popping up on Saturday, 8 September, 12.00 - 17.00 at the Guildhall, Church of Christ the Cornerstone, 300 Saxon Gate West, MK9 2ES. We will be kick starting the event with Trubys AGM at 11.15 - all welcome to attend.  The cafe will be open from 12.00 noon as usual. This is our big push to raise the rest of our £3k towards the one house project to settle Syrian families in Milton Keynes so please support us by attending, promoting and encouraging others to attend. I have attached the poster (here) and this is the link to our Facebook... read more

World Refugee Day (20th June), Refugee Week (18th-24th)

20th June is World Refugee Day: We will gather at 6:30PM for 30 minutes at the MK Rose in Campbell Park (location info at theparkstrust.com/parks/milton-keynes-rose) to remember refugees and migrants thoughout the world – and those who have found a home in Milton Keynes.   Before attending, please check rwmk.org.uk/events for late-breaking updates/details and additional events.   OTHER REFUGEE WEEK EVENTS IN MK:   June 18th-24th is Refugee Week, which takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on 20th June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme (see refugeework.org.uk) of arts, cultural and educational events... read more

June events: Iftaar (3rd), Refugee Week (18th-24th)

Truby's Garden Tea Room invites you to the Great Get Together Iftaar 2018 on Sunday, 3 June, 7.30pm -10.30pm to join the communities of Milton Keynes in celebrating diversity and everything that unites in celebration of the blessed month of Ramadan.  This event is brought together with support from MK Community Foundation and hosted by Trubys Garden Tea Room (an interfaith cafe lead by Muslim Women to create opportunities for positive dialogue between Muslims and the wider community) in collaboration with a range of diverse faith and cultural community groups. See the details and links to booking information on our Events page at rwmk.org.uk/events   Later in June... read more

A Real Kickstart with MK Dons

MK Dons are hoping to offer refugee families a range of activities following a recent meeting at MK Stadium between Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes (RWMK) and the MK Dons Sports and Education Trust (MKDSET). MKDSET’s Dean Dixon and Amy Humphries outlined sporting, educational, family and work-related activities that might interest refugee families and which could start very soon. Our photo shows (left to right) Marie Gracie, Bassem Al Haj and Catherine Jeffrey of RWMK, and Dean Dixon of MKDSET.  Amy Humphries took the picture (thanks Amy!). Speaking after the meeting, the RWMK team thanked Dean and Amy for talking so enthusiastically about their ideas and acknowledged the help of... read more

Refugees Take to the Hokey Cokey

Children from Syrian refugee families learned how to do the Hokey Cokey at Ragdolly Annas, Milton Keynes, last Saturday (April 14).  Parents and children from families hosted in MK by Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes (RWMK) and the local British Red Cross (BRC) danced along to ‘Heads, Shoulders,  Knees and Toes’ and more modern songs such as ‘Baby Shark’. A volunteer interpreter provided by BRC was on hand to ease any language difficulties which disappeared once the music started. ‘To see the families engaging and participating was a moment of pure joy,’ said Kerri Chana of the BRC. ‘The session was full of fun and laughter.  They all loved the props and games, and a... read more

Cakes Aid Refugees

Delicious home-made cakes helped raise much needed funds to house Syrian refugees in Milton Keynes last Saturday (April 7).  The fund-raising event was held at Truby’s Garden Tea Room. “We sold out completely,” said Truby’s Kurshida Mirza, “and raised £1,120 towards settling Syrian refugees in MK.” Truby’s, an inter-faith community cafe run by British Muslim women, are hoping to raise £3,000 which will equip a house for use by a refugee Syrian family.  Working with the local British Red Cross and Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes (RWMK), they are planning two more events, dates to be confirmed, to achieve the total £3,000. Truby’s is a member of Citizens:MK and works... read more

Partnerships of Hope – Working Together for Refugees, 21/4

We're pleased to announce “Partnerships of Hope - Working Together for Refugees” taking place Saturday 21st April, 10am-4pm, at New Road Baptist Church, Oxford. Whether you are already involved in supporting refugees, would like to be or are just exploring, this event organised by Christian Concern for One World* is for you. A range of groups and organisations from across the Thames Valley will be participating in the day, which will include speakers, workshops and stands. It is an opportunity for information, networking and encouragement. For further details and to register, please go to http://www.ccow.org.uk/event/partnerships-of-hope/ (contact info at bottom of page). This event... read more

Just One House: Get Involved

Our partners at the British Red Cross have now taken over the responsibility of setting up the homes for new families, but we are still looking for organisations (faith groups, businesses, clubs or others) who are willing to fundraise to cover the cost (£3500) of furnishing ‘Just One House' and, if possible, also to introduce volunteers who are willing to train to support the families as buddies.  If you know any organisations who might want to support us in this way – please get in touch by sending an email... read more

Thanks to David Lock Associates for Refugee ‘Just 1 House’ Work

Chairman Tim Norwood presents Caroline Brown and some members of the ‘Just One House’ Team from David Lock Associates (DLA) with a very well deserved THANK YOU (Weds 7th March 2018).   The team have kitted out several houses for Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes in amazing style and with everything they might need - adding their special touch to provide truly welcoming homes for new families arriving in Milton Keynes under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.  If you know an organisation who might want to do the same – please get in touch by sending an email... read more

‘DO SOMETHING BIG’ Meeting Highlights

On 19th February at 6:30PM Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes hosted a special Supporters’ Meeting in which we asked for supporters to step up and ‘Do Something Big’.  Highlights of the meeting included our requests for people to help with (a) the integration of families in Milton Keynes , (b) welcoming families , and (c) raising awareness of the issues affecting refugees and migrants . A PDF version of the slides from the evening (for those who missed it or would like a record/reminder of what was said and the contact details) can be found by clicking on the following link: Supporters Meeting 190218 v1.3.pdf A lively series of discussions followed the presentations, and several... read more

Do Something Big – 19th Feb 6:30PM Supporters’ Meeting

Dear Supporter,   I'd like to ask you to do something big.   We're in the middle of the world's biggest refugee crisis, and many of us want to do more to help. Refugees Welcome has been working with our partners to welcome refugees from Syria, but we know that there is so much more to do: We need people who can help with the integration of families in Milton Keynes. We need people to help welcome families. We want to raise awareness of the issues affecting refugees and migrants. Our partners need your support in the work they are doing. At this point, we're not looking for new ideas. We're looking for leaders and doers - people who can step up... read more

See and hear an MK buddy family paired with a Syrian refugee family

One of the many ways RWMK works with the British Red Cross is by partnering as a ‘Buddy Family’ with newly arrived refugee families.  You can see and hear more about this important work in two recent segments: (1) A TV report on BBC Look East, available on iPlayer, or directly viewable in a slightly different version (see links further below). (2) A radio report on BBC Three Counties radio (see links further below).   Many thanks to the BBC, to Kerri Chana of the British Red Cross, and to Marie and her family for being a Buddy Family! Full links are as follows: A TV report on BBC Look East, available on iPlayer (click here) until 7PM on 16th November 2017,... read more

Help Us Set the Agenda – Supporters’ Mtg Nov 13th

Two years ago, something amazing happened. People across Britain were moved by the desperate plight of refugees in the Mediterranean. Across the country refugees welcome groups sprang up. Our group Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes (RWMK) began as a Citizens MK campaign, but is now an independent charity. It has been an amazing two years! We have been privileged to welcome eight families to MK through the Government's Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. Two more families will have arrived by the end of the year - nearly sixty people in all! If you have been closely involved with any of this, you will know how good it has been to meet our new friends and welcome them to our city. You... read more

Make a difference now with Sanctuary Hosting

From a posting by Alissa Pemberton on the Community Action:MK website we read this: "Sanctuary Hosting is a registered UK charity that provides temporary shelter to homeless vulnerable migrants, refugees and asylum seekers (guests), many of whom are also destitute. They match guests to generous people (hosts) who have a spare room to accommodate them temporarily, just like air bnb but at no cost. They work in the Thames Valley area, predominantly in Oxford, Milton Keynes and Reading. They currently host 16 guests, and have made available over 7,800 nights of accommodation since they started in July 2015. Can you help? Contact info@sanctuaryhosting.org or call 07818... read more

Rebuilding Lives

Families continue to arrive in Milton Keynes as part of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme.   Three families arrived in May and were welcomed by a group of Red Cross personnel, RWMK volunteers and Milton Keynes Council representatives. The latest arrivals take our total to eight families, all of whom are beginning to rebuild their lives here in MK. Colleagues at our local British Red Cross (BRC) are helping them locate amenities, public transport links and registering with services.  Parents are starting English classes and their children are preparing for school;  they are getting to know their neighbours and making new friends. As the families become accustomed to their... read more

Pupils get creative in fight against hate (awards 19-Jul-2017)

From our colleagues at CitizensMK, we read the following:         This July, The Open University is hosting an exhibition of children’s art work to raise awareness of hate crime. In a campaign organised by Citizens:mk, posters created by pupils from four MK primary schools will be judged by a panel including Arriva buses, whose marketing manager has agreed to display Fight Against Hate posters on MK buses this Autumn. Read the full story, with details of the 19th July 2017 award ceremony,... read more

Great Get Together Iftaar 16th June 7:30-10:30PM

The Great Get Together Bring and Share Iftaar is inspired by the late Jo Cox, MP, who was a tireless peace and human rights campaigner.  It will be an opportunity to celebrate both the unity of the peoples of Milton Keynes and the month of Ramadan.  Let’s give unity, peace and tolerance the thumbs-up in Milton Keynes! When: Friday 16th June 2017, 7.30-10.30pm Where: Campbell Park Pavilion, Milton Keynes MK9  4AD. Info poster to download/circulate: Great Iftaar Poster A5 v3 (PDF) Original story with links to RSVP and 'get involved' details  from the Citizens:mk website:  The aim is to celebrate MK’s unity and diversity by bringing together its diverse communities to... read more

The UK General Election and #RefugeesWelcome

When David Cameron made the commitment to extend the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, he said the UK would resettle “up to 20,000 refugees by the end of this Parliament” and then supplemented this scheme with 3,000 “children at risk” due to also be resettled directly from the region. Because of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, people assumed this meant 2020; however the snap election now calls this commitment into question. The incoming Government could choose to scrap the scheme with immediate effect. Currently, even if the incoming Government agrees to continue the existing resettlement commitment until 2020, that still leaves two more years before the end of the... read more

JUST ONE HOUSE – The way forward for getting homes ready

To scale up our work furnishing homes for families to move into, we work with faith groups, businesses, schools, clubs or other organisations who can commit to getting involved with kitting out ‘Just One House’.  As of May 2017 we have six groups committed already, i.e. taking responsibility for six houses.  We will be looking for more to get going later in the year or during 2018. Each group can build up a level of commitment that suits them.  The basic level of involvement simply entails raising the money for kitting out a house with new items – £3,500.  You can then hand the funds to us and our experienced team will do the rest. Alternatively, a group could procure all of... read more

Fun and Funds: 30th April 6.30pm

Come and enjoy live Syrian and Western music Sunday 30 April and help raise funds and awareness for the British Red Cross support of our Syrian refugees.  It’s at the Age UK Peartree Centre, Chadds Lane, MK6 3EB from 6.30 to 9.30 pm with a raffle, snacks and refreshment, and music from Belal Alasali and the Free Peace Band.  Speakers include Jennifer Hill from MK BRC and members of the local Syrian community.  It’s entry by donation. Please see our April Newsletter for booking details and a link to an A5 flyer for the event, for you to download and circulate to... read more

Help Refugees Via Our Partner Organisations: training 22nd April

We are pleased to be working with two local organisations through which you can provide help: Talk English seeks volunteers to teach learners on Talk English Courses and help people to improve their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills; Sanctuary Hosting matches homeless asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants to people in the community with spare rooms and open hearts, to stay with them rent free, and is running an important training session in MK on 22nd April, as described in the second section below. Talk English Talk English helps ‘beginners’ to improve their listening, reading and writing skills in English. Funded by the Department for Communities and Local... read more

Refugee Week 18-14 June

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week of World Refugee Day on 20 June 2017. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourage a better understanding between communities. It started in 1998 as a direct response to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers. An established part of the UK’s cultural calendar, Refugee Week promotes the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities. It aims to encourage greater understanding and overcome hostility; to showcase the... read more

Future Hopes 6-Feb-17

Our first regular 'supporters meeting' was hosted by Whaddon Way Church in Bletchley on 6th Feb 2017. This was an opportunity to learn about the work of the British Red Cross who are leading the integration work with Syrian Refugees in Milton Keynes. Some of the Syrian Refugees were present to talk about their own hopes for the future. We also had a presentation from a new project from Oxford called Sanctuary Hosting, who are hoping to expand to Milton Keynes. This project links vulnerable migrants with short- or medium-term accommodation. As the project grows, we'll keep you informed. In the meantime, see https://oxford.cityofsanctuary.org/host-oxford Enthusiastic supporters at... read more

Belal Sings Thank You

Belal, father of one of our Syrian refugee families, arrived in September, eager to show his gratitude for a new life in Milton Keynes and to continue his career as a professional singer. He has taken every opportunity to demonstrate his impassioned voice at festivals, local celebrations and formal events as a way of saying thank you. Belal sang at a recent 25th anniversary event for Christ the Cornerstone Church, and received a standing ovation. Reverend Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga, addressing the congregation, praised Belal for not allowing his voice to be silenced by the atrocities and urged him to keep... read more

No Place For Children

Even as we write this, the news about the UK’s welcome to many unaccompanied refugee children in Calais and elsewhere is changing.  Here are some certainties: The situation for unaccompanied child refuges who have a right to be in the UK is desperate The UK government’s response is too little and far, far too late Milton Keynes Council is trying to do its part The bureaucracy is confusing and difficult to manage The Red Cross have released a wonderful booklet “No Place for Children”. It makes pitiful but important reading. A copy is available for you in PDF format by clicking here. Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes aims to work with MK Council (and government... read more

Listen to how we work in this BBC Three Counties Radio excerpt

  You can hear Marie Gracie, our inspirational furniture and housing champion, describing our work in preparing housing for incoming refugee families on this recent BBC 3 Counties radio broadcast (or click here). It lasts around 7 minutes but is so worth listening to.  And for an inside view of what happens when we get to make a house ready, above you can see the team that arrived, mop and bucket in hand, to prepare for one of the three new families’ arrival. Yet again, we were thrilled that Assad and Bassem wanted to help as their way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who’s made them so... read more