Leeds Refugee Week 2022

We had an action-packed week filled with events to celebrate our diverse and incredible refugee and asylum seeker communities.

We would like to extend a special thank you to all of our service users, volunteers, and staff for making Refugee Week 2022 the success it was!

Leeds Refugee Week World Cup

Twenty 7-a-side teams played head to head on Saturday 18th June. All the teams played incredibly and it was great to see so many different communities at our tournament. Congratulations to the Eritrean first team for winning the tournament.

As everyone who has attended a Refugee World Cup football tournament will know, these events are a great way of bringing together Refugee Community Organisations, local communities and agencies together in a fun footballing environment.

A massive thank you to everyone who participated, supported and watched. We hope to make this event more frequent due to its great popularity and our recent partnership with Leeds United, who were a massive help prior to and during the tournament!

A Roxby Close Get Together

Mafwa Theatre recently held a Refugee Week community festival in celebration of the brand new Roxby Close community garden.

Born out of the communities desire for a green space in the midst of such a densely populated urban area, the Lincoln Greening project aims to transform a disused playground into an attractive, eco-friendly open green space with seating, planting and areas to meet and play. The local community will be able to use this space to grow food, join workshops, meet friends, eat picnics and enjoy the garden.

Mafwa have worked with Leeds Refugee Forum and Lincoln Green residents, conducting a series of community consultations to find out what the Lincoln green residents would want from a communal green space. Earlier this year they unveiled the garden design plans by Zosia Berkieta-Lewis and launched the Lincoln Greeners gardening group who have been learning sustainable gardening tips and putting in new plant beds, contributing to the area’s redesign process and giving members the chance to take ownership of the site.

‘A Roxby Close Get Together’ took place on June 18th. There was a fantastic turn with the community gathering to celebrate the progress made in the space ahead of its completion next year. The event included the reveal of a colourful new mural designed by artist Jenna Coulthard and members of the community and the launch of ‘Photogreening’, a photography installation mapping out the gardens and green spaces of Lincoln green, created by photographer Emily Ryalls and Mafwa members. People explored the new garden beds designed by the Lincoln Greeners, made their own herbal teas, created prints with Lutra Studios, had their faces painted, danced to music courtesy of Sable Radio and enjoyed some tasty dahl.

Site construction will continue into 2023, with furniture and planting being installed later this year. The garden will be available for community groups to run workshops in the near future and a performance space within the garden will be available for community led programming in future years.

Celebrating Us Together at RETAS

On Monday 20th June, RETAS hosted a gathering of refugees of different countries and communities across Leeds. Everyone shared their stories and celebrate the contribution of refugees to our local community. We came together to highlight resilience and impact of refugees in our local community.

Our Walk With Little Amal

‘The Walk with Amal’ is a celebration of migration and cultural diversity that tells the story of the contributions made by asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants. It represents the refugee story as one of potential, success, respect, hospitality and kindness.

The streets of Leeds city centre were filled with joy and celebration as ‘Little’ Amal showed us that refugees and asylum seekers are welcome in Leeds!

Our staff and service users had a wonderful time enjoying the atmosphere and message that the event sent. As a result, the Walk was a joyous occasion which celebrated Refugee communities- exactly what Refugee Week is all about.

Thank you Amal, we hope to see you in Leeds again next year!

Rainbow Heart’s Refugee Week Celebration at Leeds Refugee Forum

Rainbow Hearts meets every Tuesday 10.00a.m- 12.30p.m and is a group for women seeking asylum in Leeds and is supported by Leeds City Council. At Rainbow Hearts, women of all ages come together to give and receive emotional support from other women who have had similar experiences. Health and social support information sessions are offered around topics such as self-care, well-being and healthy eating. They offer creative sessions such as therapeutic art activities, singing and movement. Rainbow Hearts is a project run by Women’s Health Matters.

Rainbow Hearts celebrated Refugee Week by watching Rosemary’s Way film with popcorn at Leeds Refugee Forum where the group meets every week. The group enjoyed it a lot and found their stories told within the film “very powerful and motivational. I am motivated, inspired and encouraged by this documentary.”

Refugees Welcome at Hyde Park Book Club

Thank you Hyde Park Book Club for your hospitality, music and laughter! Our staff, volunteers, and service users had such a great experience on Tuesday 21st June listening to music and eating delicious food. We hope this will be the start of our communities enjoying, sharing, and creating art together.

Leeds Refugee Forum’s Cultural Day

Our cultural day was incredible! Our diverse and vibrant refugee communities participated in traditional folk dance and music. We enjoyed performances from the Sudanese, Eritrean, Ukrainian, Kurdish, Afghan, and Iranian communities. There was a display collection of cultural and heritage item by different communities, a tradition costume fashion show, national food and we offered stands and tables to the communities and other organisations such as the Hope Trust.

We cannot wait to do it all over again next year!

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