How the floods united the north – from chefs bearing curry to refugees with sandbags

The impact of the floods in the north of England and Scotland has been enormous. Yet the disaster has brought together people who might never normally mix – from the armies of Sikh and Muslim volunteers to the individuals sending care parcels

The Sikhs had been dishing out free curry in Mytholmroyd for a few days when a man in his mid to late 20s came up to them, looking emotional. He had a confession to make. “I used to hate Asians,” he told one of the coordinators from Khalsa Aid, a Sikh charity based in Slough, who came up to volunteer in the West Yorkshire town after it was almost wiped out in the post-Christmas floods. “I used to be with Combat 18. But I’m so ashamed of that now, having seen how you are all up here helping us.” He vowed to go and apologise to all the Asian shopkeepers he had been rude to over the years. Read more …

20,000 Welcomes: An Advent Vigil for Refugee

On 8th December representatives of churches and other faith groups met at St Margaret’s Westminster, the parliamentary church, for a vigil organised by the Churches Refugee Network (CRN) . The vigil was intended to offer a welcome to refugees and to demonstrate to parliamentarians the concern of faith groups about current asylum policy. There was a shifting population of participants throughout the day with perhaps 150 in total, including some parliamentarians such as the Shadow minister for overseas development and his aides, and at least one member of the House of Lords. Continue reading “20,000 Welcomes: An Advent Vigil for Refugee”