Training Week Update

by | Jul 18, 2016 |

This week, we have spent time in Stoke-on-Trent training, as we prepare to head out to Scicli at an unearthly early hour on Sunday morning!

We’ve been hosted with love and care by the SwanBank church family – a special shoutout to our lovely hosts Val and John for feeding us countless Staffordshire oatcakes!

What we have learnt this week has made us conscious that our trip pales in light of the experiences of these millions and millions of people, but to remember that even the smallest something is not insignificant moves us from paralysis into action, however small.

It has been paralysing at times this week to hear so many stories of unimaginable suffering and injustice. But we are in awe of the resilience, grit, determination, and hope within the people we have met. We have been convicted of the shocking injustice of the refugee crisis. This is not a “migrant crisis”, as if the problem lies in asylum seekers themselves, but it is a humanitarian one. The real crisis is the lack of humanity: the destruction and grief of war; the creation and barbaric use of snipers, bombs, torture, fake life-jackets, oppression and exploitation; the refusal to open our eyes and ears to the cries of people just like ourselves, simply because they are from the other side of an arbitrary ideological line. These are urgent emergencies that must change, and they start with action taken by us.

We have had the privilege of meeting a number of excellent organisations who are doing invaluable work to help refugees and asylum seekers here in the UK. From teaching English and running drop-in tea and chat sessions to providing legal advice and guidance, we have been inspired by the diverse range of projects welcoming people arriving in this strange world we call England! We have also been honoured to meet and hear from a number of people who have themselves sought sanctuary in the UK. Their stories have broken our hearts and humbled us, as well as inspiring and uplifting us with their strength of character.


Tapestry created as part of City of Sanctuary, Bradford. Children were asked to draw an image of “home”. Notice the contrast between the drawings by children brought up in Britain, who drew mainly idyllic houses, and those who have come here as refugees, predominantly from Syria, many of whom drew images of war, tanks, bombs and death.

To learn more about the stories of refugees, as told by themselves, we highly recommend watching the documentary series ‘Exodus’, which aired on the BBC this week. You can find it on BBC iplayer, here:

In the meantime, we’re off to Sicily – catch you there!

Lucy and Charlotte x