A host of events and activities with the theme of ‘compassion in action’ will take place across Somerset next week to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Refugee Week – and everyone is invited to take part.

Between 19-25 June people and organisations will be coming together across the county to share their extraordinary experiences and inspiring stories of welcome, kindness and compassion in engaging with and supporting displaced people in our local communities.

Somerset Council is working closely with partner organisations to support the initiative and hopes to increase understanding and awareness of displacement across the globe and the positive impacts of refugees and asylum seekers to Somerset.

Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture at Somerset Council, commented: “Somerset has a long history of welcoming, supporting and resettling displaced people into its communities and is something we should be extremely proud of.

“Refugee Week provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the invaluable and unique contribution of those who have, through no fault of their own, been forced to leave their homes. It is hugely inspiring to see and hear stories of acts of extraordinary kindness and generosity of so many in our communities – even the simplest acts of kindness – which serve to make the world of difference to someone who finds themselves in the most difficult of situations.

“I would encourage anyone to get involved or simply go along to some of the local events taking place during Refugee Week to understand more about displaced people and the ways in which together, we can engage and enrich our local communities culturally, creatively, through sport and professional skills and experience.”

Refugee Week 19 – 25 June: What’s happening in Somerset

Six Welcome Hubs across Somerset will be hosting a number of events and activities over the week. Below are details of the events taking place in Taunton, Bridgwater, Yeovil, North Petherton, Wells and Frome.

Events and activities over the week include an art exhibitions by refugee artists from Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan held at the Welcome Hub in Taunton and the Artists in Dialogue exhibition at Frome Town Hall – a free but ticketed event; visit bit.ly/UkrainianAwareness for more information.

The Community Church in Yeovil will be hosting stalls where donations can be made in exchange for gifts, experiences and cards for refugee guests. Cultural celebrations at community centres in Bridgwater and North Petherton, as well as at Sedgemoor Hub, will be showcasing international cuisines, music and national costumes.

Picnics are being held at Victoria Park in Frome, The Ammerdown Centre near Frome and at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells, and The Good Heart Café in Frome will be hosting a Ukrainian afternoon of food, music, a quiz along with a screening of ‘The Swimmers’, a film about two Syrian sisters who competed at the Rio Olympic games. Watchet Hub will also be organising a family Forrest School Day on 24 June and a social evening on 20 June – World Refugee Day.

More details can be found in the attached Timetable of Activities.

Refugee Week showcases many ways to extend a warm welcome to refugees and asylum seekers, make connections and offer support to some of the most vulnerable people in our local communities – from volunteering just a few hours of your time, becoming a host as part of Somerset Council’s Homes for Ukraine initiative, to becoming a landlord if you able to offer a suitable property for private rent.

If you would like to find out more about ways you can help support displaced people in Somerset, visit Support refugee settlement in Somerset and how you can help.

To find out how you could change a child’s story as a foster carer for an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child, visit www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or call 0800 587 9900 to find out more.

Invitation to an exhibition of art by refugees

About this article

June 16, 2023

Rebecca Howat

Press Release