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People of Malham Open Their Doors

News > People of Malham Open Their Doors

10/10/2017

Date of issue: 10 October 2017

The people of Malhamdale recently welcomed 30 refugee and asylum seeking women and children into their homes and community for a weekend of fun and friendship.

It was organised by local charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) in partnership with the City of Sanctuary’s Maternity Stream in Leeds.

Airton Bunkhouse, Malham Tarn Field Centre and seven families in Malhamdale opened their homes to welcome the visitors from a variety of backgrounds and countries including Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, Albania, South Africa and Bolivia, to the Yorkshire Dales.

The weekend included a mosaic making workshop with artist Shaeron Caton Rose, pond dipping near Malham Tarn, a bug hunt in the woods, and nature based arts and crafts for the children including making stone ladybirds, paper plate bees and woolly sheep cards. Saturday evenings’ entertainment included a ceilidh with singing, dancing and frivolity enjoyed by hosts and visitors alike. On the Sunday morning all were invited to join the church service at St Michaels in Kirkby Malham where the women talked about their experiences as asylum seekers and shared in the celebration of holy communion.

As food is a big part of any holiday, meals were prepared and shared together in Malham Village Hall, Airton Quaker Meeting House and Malham Tarn Field Centre, helping to form new friendships and understanding.

The weekend concluded with lots of goodbyes. Emily from South Africa said: “The weekend really uplifted me. I was really down spiritually but knowing that people are there for me regardless helped. I am blessed.”

One of the volunteers said: “The weekend has made me feel happy and grateful for what I have and very lucky and blessed to be able to share happy times with families facing major challenges in their lives. I have felt privileged to work with them and other helpers. There has been such love and fun.”

Judy Rogers, Community Worker at YDMT, added: “This is the third time that the people of Malham have opened their homes and hearts to refugees and asylum seekers from City of Sanctuary’s Maternity Stream in Leeds. It was an amazing weekend. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work which made it all possible, in particular Rev Geoffrey Spencer and the congregation of St Michaels in Kirkby Malham, Simon Watkins and Airton Quakers, Jim Wright and Rhian from Malham Tarn Field Centre and Richard Hargreaves and his band for playing at the ceilidh.”

This initiative formed part of YDMT’s award-winning People and the DALES project and was made possible thanks to generous funding from the Morrisons Foundation and Guardian City of Sanctuary Christmas Appeal.

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