Refugee Week 2017

Monday 19th June 2017 marks the beginning of Refugee Week.

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world in the week around World Refugee Day on the 20th June. The event started in 1998 as a reaction to hostility in the media and society towards refugees and asylum seekers, and is now an established part of the UK’s cultural calendar.

The week includes a nationwide programme of arts, cultural, educational and media events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK and encourage a better understanding between communities and successful integration.

For Refugee Week 2017, Caritas Social Action Network has made a series of videos showcasing how two member organisations, Seeking Sanctuary and Caritas Diocese of Salford, are touching the lives of those affected by the hardship of fleeing their homes, finding refuge in the face of adversity and settling into a foreign community. The video footage was recorded during a trip to drop off donations in Calais with Seeking Sanctuary, and during a visit to an English qualification certificate ceremony for refugees at Cornerstone Day Centre within Caritas Diocese of Salford.

We hope that you will join us this week in celebrating the welcoming response of Catholic charities and the Catholic community to refugees.

Seeking Sanctuary:

Visit to Refugee Community Kitchen and Secours Catholique (Caritas France) in Calais:

“It’s hard to imagine now that the area behind me, just up to six months ago, was home to nearly 10,000 people, all crammed in among these decaying sand dunes.”  Phil Kerton from Seeking Sanctuary at the dispersed Calais ‘Jungle’ migrant camp:

Talking to Pascal Froehly from Secours Catholique (Caritas France) in Calais:


Caritas Diocese of Salford:

Visit to Cornerstone Day Centre:

“As part of supporting refugees’ homelessness and providing them with accommodation, we’re also providing help in other avenues, for one of the key challenges we see is in terms of boosting their English as this is the barrier to employment and to higher education.” Talking to Andreas, English Education Coordinator at Cornerstone Day Centre:


“We try our best for whatever issue people have and the door is open for everybody.” Assad’s story, Cornerstone Day Centre:

“Once a refugee’s asylum claim has been approved, then their financial support and accommodation both come to an end… they will need to apply for benefits and their English may be very limited indeed and it can take quite some time before they are back in receipt of some form of income on which to live.” This is where Cornerstone steps in. Talking to Howard from Cornerstone Day Centre:

“Now I have a house, college, a job, I have everything.” Mohammed’s Story, Cornertone Day Centre: