Wells-next-the-Sea Local Meeting

Refugee Week

PRESS RELEASE

Calling on our Local Community to help support 'Welcome Wheels' in Refugee Week

This year is the 20th Anniversary for Refugee Week. Wells Quaker Meeting will be holding an event at the Quaker Meeting House, Church Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, NR23 1HZ in support of Welcome Wheels which is an initiative to provide bikes for refugees and asylum seekers living in Norwich.

Norwich has a long history of welcoming people from other lands (think of “Strangers” who came from Holland, France in the 16 th century and brought their Canaries with them). A third of the population of Norwich at that time were refugees! There are now around 150 asylum seekers dispersed across the City. The weekly asylum allowance of £36.95 doesn't stretch to bus fares, so getting around to do the things that most of us take for granted can seem impossible to someone who has arrived in a new country with few possessions. Cycling is a convenient way to get around the city but also enables someone to participate more fully within their community. This could be going to English classes, shopping, visiting friends or to pursue a volunteering opportunity (asylum seekers are not usually allowed to obtain paid employment whilst their application to stay is being considered).

If anyone has a bicycle suitable for an adult or child and would be willing to donate it please come along to Wells Quaker Meeting House between the hours of 10am-1pm from 18-23 June. Other donated equipment we are looking for are bicycle lights, wheels, frames, panniers, bells and pumps. Refreshments will also be sold during these hours to raise money towards bicycle refurbishment. It is hoped that the community will get behind this worthwhile initiative.

refugee  is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A  refugee  has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Over 65 million people around the globe have been forced to flee their homes. The United Nation's Refugee Agency estimates that nearly nine in ten of the worlds refugees are sheltered by the developing countries. Britain offers no asylum visa. Asylum seekers are not entitled to Council housing and the accommodation allocated to them is not paid for by the Local Council. Since 2005 most people recognised as refugees are only given permission to stay in the UK for five years and can have their case reviewed at any time.

Sources: Refugee Council/Amnesty International

'Refugee' from the United Nations Definition