We have been so pleased to be able to continue the Men’s table Tennis at the 6th Form college. The 6th Form College is a College of Sanctuary and as such considers us to be part of their wider community. Consequently Table Tennis has continued with the use of masks, no ‘doubles’ and the sanitising of hands and equipment.
Men’s drumming had to stop when First Site went into the latest lockdown but a small group have been able to reconvene to practice a 5 minute performance for a private event accompanying the My Name is Not Refugee exhibition.
Conversation and Craft
A new Conversation and Craft group has convened under the guidance of our caseworkers and the university STAR (Student Action for Refugees) group. This takes place on Zoom and is settling into a well-attended routine. Recently the women received wool and knitting needles, donated by volunteers, so that they can knit together online.
Work at the BIG GARDEN
A small number of men are starting to work at the Big Garden with Wayne and the volunteers of Together We Grow (TWG), on Wednesdays. We have taken delivery of work boots for 2 men who had only light shoes – this is a good use of donations! We hope the group will grow and intend to provide warmer jackets for them and would like some warmer weather too.
The latest group for women
A particularly exciting new development is a group proposed and started by one of our migrant community. Zaenab, who many know from Community Meetings suggested she would like to have small, group discussions with newcomers to the UK which she calls an Awareness and Guidance group
This group meets our aim of self help within the community and breaking down divisions between ‘them’ and ‘us’. And of course it will involve talking about things which we take for granted but which Zaenab has learnt from years in the UK and wants to explain to others. We have been able to provide a room in which it is easy to maintain social distancing and in her first session she met with 2 young women, each of whom have been here for only 2 months. With Arabic and English, and smatterings of other Middle Eastern languages, communication flowed and I witnessed 2 young women relaxing and being animated under her warmth and guidance. More women will gradually join them.
Along with these groups, English teaching and conversation continues via Zoom. Befrienders remain active and many informal relationships continue to thrive. The Homework Club run by Friends Not Foes at the 6th Form College is thriving and I hope we can have a report from them in the next newsletter.
My Name is Not Refugee
Please do attend this exhibition, where you will see futher joint involvement of Colchester people and our migrant friends. It continues until Feb 21st – click here for more information.
Community and Volunteer Coordinator