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Supporting Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Dear friends,

The Grange is dedicated to building resilience but with global events this feels particularly difficult at the moment. Reading and watching the reports from Syria, Greece, Lebanon, Macedonia, France and elsewhere of the plight of countless people desperately seeking sanctuary and safety away from war and persecution has been difficult. Friends have visited camps in France and Greece to donate food and other essentials and have come back speaking of witnessing human suffering on an appalling scale. 

A huge number of people have contacted us recently asking how they can support asylum seekers and refugees in their area. We have decided to put together a booklet with some suggestions and case studies which will be ready later in the year. For now, this e-mail is to encourage you to help out in any way you can, and also to ask you to share ways you are already working with refugees so we can include it in the booklet and on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thegrangenorfolk.

The City of Sanctuary website has some useful ideas on these pages. Many people who stay with us tell us of small acts of kindness they have received, often from strangers, that have made a phenomenal difference to their lives. Invitations to dinner, space on an allotment, shelter for a night or sometimes for several years, volunteering for charities and support organisations - what can you offer? Last year, Ben was motivated to explain some of our own motivation for what we do in a poem called 'Bisrat' which you can listen to here.

On an immediate level, if you are able to offer any financial support, please consider giving to some of these appeals:
 
Doctors of the World have an urgent appeal to support refugees in Greece at http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/doctorsoftheworld/greeceappeal
Freedom From Torture (who have sent several clients to The Grange) are overwhelmed with referrals. You can donate here
More locally to us, New Routes are hoping to bring a group of asylum seekers from Norwich to The Grange in April. Can you support their funding drive at https://www.gofundme.com/b5p8ndhb
We have been working with Room to Heal since we moved to The Grange and they do fantastic work supporting survivors of torture. They need funds to continue their important work - find out how to donate here.
 
We are privileged that well over 100 people who have fled persecution will stay at The Grange this year, and more than 400 others have stayed since we came here in 2012. We are constantly inspired by the resilience of people who have seen and suffered so much. We know this is a drop in the ocean, but hope it is part of creating a culture of welcome. There are lots of ways to Get Involved with The Grange can be found on the relevant pages on our website.

If you are local, consider coming to one (or more!) or our Workday Wednesdays. Just let us know you are coming first by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With spring nearly here, we are starting to welcome more groups to The Grange and there is a real buzz in the air. Thanks to some amazing volunteers we now have a pottery and weaving studio and are well on the way to finishing the accommodation space for our first intern, Lucy, who will start in April. 

We hope to see you here some time in 2016 - don't hesitate to get in touch if you have ideas of how you would like to be involved including if you are keen to visit.

Let us know if you are already working with refugees and aslyum seekers so we can share that information through the booklet and Facebook page and encourage more people to build a culture of welcome.

With love and thanks,
Ben, Sophie, Orianna and all involved with The Grange
For more information on the mass movement of people into Europe we suggest the following documentaries as a good starting point:
 
BBC Panorama - http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06g01kf/panorama-europes-border-crisis-the-long-road
 
BBC World Service - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03b1t3g