What do you want when organising a countryside picnic in August for 40 people? Sheeting rain is not one of them.
But our HWSF families and volunteers had a plan B and we gathered for an afternoon of fun at Little Gaddesden village hall on Friday 10 August.
We may not have been eating our picnics outside in Ashridge as originally planned, but there was bunting, balloons, and lots of delicious food.
And after a huge buffet lunch, the rain even stopped.
The children had fun in the big playground opposite the hall while another group of adults and teenagers took a short walk, admiring the beautiful view over the valley, exploring a church, and watching a flock of sheep running after a farmer. Back at the sports field, a game of French boules became amusingly competitive!
Our outdoor pursuits were rewarded back in the hall with cups of tea and delicious slices of cake brought by the volunteers.
But the best part of the afternoon was seeing the beginnings of new friendships and everyone coming together.
[Text and photos by Olivia Bolton]
Our volunteers have been busy this summer, raising money to support the needs of the refugee families that we help in Hertfordshire. Whether baking up a storm or riding one hundred miles through wind and rain, our fabulous fundraisers have been working hard to keep our charity fully funded. You can donate via Just Giving if you are inspired by Caroline’s 100 mile bike ride and the work that we do:
Our ESOL Volunteer Coordinator, Caroline Herring, is raising money for HWSF by taking part in the Prudential 100 Miles Bike Ride at the end of July.
If you'd like to support Caroline's challenge by donating to HWSF, please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/carolineherringhwsf
HWSF was delighted when a local supporter got in touch to offer Eid gifts to the Syrian refugee families in Watford and Three Rivers. The new member, along with a group of friends, raised an incredible £500 within three days! They put together seven packages to give to each of the families, including special Eid cupcakes, chocolates, cards and a purse with £20 for each child. The packages were delivered by HWSF volunteers who wished the families Eid Mubarak (Blessed Celebration!). The families were touched by the packages and by the HWSF well-wishers who’d made them possible.
HWSF recently organised an evening titled “Arrivals and Departures” exploring issues of migration in collaboration with St Albans Folk Club and St Albans Amnesty International Group.
The evening began with a musical performance by local folk band Na Mara about the evacuation of children from wartime Bilbao.
Irene Austin, the chair of HWSF, interviewed two young refugees who now live in St Albans. They discussed the unique challenges of living in a new country with different customs, rules and expectations. Both refugees highlighted the importance of learning a new language and overcoming challenges in their quest for an education.
Local historians, Kate Morris and Ken Griffin, offered a historical perspective, describing the people who had arrived at and departed from St Albans over the centuries.
Syrian and Middle Eastern food was served throughout the evening, and the night was topped off by more songs performed by Na Mara.
Photo by Nana Varveroppoulou
Hertfordshire Arrivals and Departures
An Event for Refugee Week
Organised by Herts Welcomes Syrian Families in collaboration with St Albans Folk Music and
St Albans Amnesty International Group.
8pm Thursday June 21st
Trinity United Reform Church,
1 Beaconsfield Road, St Albans AL1 3RD
● Songs from Na-Mara
● Talks by historians Kate Morris and Ken Griffin
● Stories from Syrian refugees now settled in Hertfordshire
● Arabic food prepared by local Syrian families.
Free Admission. Donations welcome.
HWSF were invited to have a stall at the performance of Human Cargo in St Albans. It was a very moving evening of stories and song on the themes of exile, transportation and slavery. This was the first evening of a national tour and wherever they perform they are linking with local organisations supporting refugees.
HWSF volunteers were able to talk to the audience before and after the show, as well as during the interval. Pictured above are some of our volunteers along with the show's creator Matthew Crampton (second from right) and the musician, Jeff Warner (far left).