A group of refugee and asylum seeker women and children living in Leeds have enjoyed a weekend in the Yorkshire Dales thanks to a group of organisations in Malham including St Michael the Archangel church in Kirkby Malham.
The mothers and children from the ‘maternity’ stream of Leeds City of Sanctuary took part in the Sunday morning service at St. Michael’s, sharing their stories from a wide variety of countries.
One visitor said at the end of the weekend: ‘It made me feel valued and important. We felt like we are back to life instead of just existing. We felt love around us and the important thing is we are one big family’.
Some visitors were hosted by families in the Dale and the rest stayed at the Malham Tarn Field Studies Centre, They visited a local farm, took part on activities at the centre including raft building, and had an evening of food, music and international entertainment.
It’s the second time that refugees and asylum seekers have been hosted in Malham. The weekend was organised by Airton Quakers, St. Michael the Archangel Church Kirkby Malham, and Malham Tarn Field Studies Centre working with ‘People and the DALES’, the outreach project run by local charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.
The Reverend Michael Jackson, Vicar of St. Michael’s, commented: ‘All of us in the Dale felt enriched by the sharing of stories, inspired at the courage in adversity shown by so many of our visitors, and heartened by the innate goodness and compassion of so many people involved in this weekend. It also reinforced my view that bringing people together in fellowship at community level is one of the greatest ways to dispel barriers and mistrust in society’.