East Riding College staff and students marked Refugee Week at both its Bridlington and Beverley campuses in June.
The Beverley campus on Flemingate was a rest stop for over 30 cyclists taking the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Refugee Cycle Challenge, organised by the Road Safety team and in its third year. The challenge is designed to prepare refugees for life on a bike in the East Riding, helping to settle refugees into the area following their escape from warn-torn countries like Syria and Sudan. The ride takes in employment, education and cultural opportunities in and around Beverley to help the refugees build new lives in the area. The participants stopped off for lunch at the College where they enjoyed a hearty Halal buffet prepared and served by the College’s catering staff and students.
Kay Brady, who coordinated the visit said, “It was wonderful to invite the refugees and other cyclists into the College for a rest stop to break up their cycle challenge and to see our amazing facilities. They received a warm welcome from our students, some of whom prepared and served a delicious lunch for them.”
The Bridlington campus on St Mary’s Walk held a celebratory lunch prepared by some of the College’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students. They made traditional food including dished from Syria, China and Iran in the training kitchens and served it up to staff, students and invited guests including Deputy Mayor Cllr Jackie Foster and town councillor Shelagh Finlay. IT tutor Sally Jones organised the event with the cooperation of Shaun Brooks from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Sophia White of Christ Church Bridlington, who work closely with the refugee families and helped out in the kitchens to prepare the lunch. The ‘Share a Dish’ lunch was inspired by Refugee Week’s Simple Acts scheme – a list of everyday actions we can all do to stand with refugees and make new connections in our communities. For Share a Dish participants are invited to share in the aromas and flavours of food ‘from home’, whether it’s a childhood favourite or a beloved family recipe.
Sally Jones said, “It was a vibrant event with delicious, traditional home cooked food. I have worked with the Syrian refugees before and they are a truly wonderful group. There’s something about the shared experience of preparing food and getting people round a table that enables us to share our cultures and brings communities together in a gentle, joyful way.”