A decade or so ago a small group began to meet, to listen to the stories of those seeking sanctuary in Bradford. Since then we’ve walked alongside several hundred asylum seekers: many were given hope when someone believed their story; they did not feel so alone. Some stories and words of appreciation are included in this year’s Annual Report. We hope they capture the excitement and joy of the day held at Kala Sangam.
As plans were made we had no idea there would be an international crisis, as European countries struggled to respond to a huge influx of refugees. Politicians debate how to manage the flow; secure borders; impose quotas. Responses vary from country to country and sometimes from day to day! BEACON joins in the debate, focusing on the distinctive plight of asylum seekers, consoled that there is increasing interest in our work.
Over 100 people joined us, including volunteers, former members and beneficiaries of BEACON and current CHAT students. We started with some wonderful clowning from Harry Kingham which set the tone for a celebratory day.
Our chair Rev. Rita Armitage offered a warm welcome and we enjoyed a meal together, provided by some of our own volunteers and friends at the Holy Family Sisters. Some fantastic CHAT Volunteers made sure people were topped up with tea & coffee throughout the day.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Joanne Dodds attended and offered Civic Greetings and The Rev. Dr Inderjit Bhogal gave us much food for thought as he outlined his own approach to working with migrants and refugees- giving us hope and encouragement for the continuation of our work at BEACON.
Will, Lizzie & Eithne gave updates on the work done being done by the Hosting, McKenzie Friends and CHAT Projects and the day came to a spectacular end with Kala Sangam’s dancer Shirkant leading us in a traditional Indian dance workshop!
The celebration provided welcome affirmation and strengthened our resolve. We shall not rest on our laurels but pledge to continue to develop BEACON.
– Rita Armitage, Chair of BEACON