Hangar Community Volunteers
‘Refugees Rock allows people seeking asylum to have some freedom from their daily worries, it’s Mindfulness in Action! These are people who have had to leave everything behind, sometimes their whole families, their friends, their profession, and even their pets! Working as a Social Worker at Asylum Link, daily I see people struggle, but when we are at TCH ‘Refugees Rock’, I see people start to relax and their personalities shine through! I see people smile, make friends and cheer each other on, it’s powerful stuff!’ – Emma Leaper, Action Asylum.
Action Asylum is a volunteering and wellbeing project housed at Asylum Link Merseyside; a charity offering friendship and support to people seeking sanctuary. Find out more here.
Action Asylum brings together people seeking asylum with their local communities to volunteer and improve mental wellbeing. ‘We do a lot of conservation work. This year alone, volunteers have planted over 3000 trees and taken part in 5 beach cleans! It’s great to be out in nature and doing something useful to protect the environment!’
Helene Santamera, who works for the British Red Cross as Project Coordinator for Refugee Support, and is also a member of the Hangar says:
When I heard that Emma Leaper from Action Asylum and Jay Railton from TCH had set up this project back in May 2021, I jumped at the chance to be involved. I could immediately see how much this sport could help the people we support. After almost 15 years in the legal sector as a Refugee and Human Rights lawyer, I have listened to some of the most unimaginable stories of human suffering. Having heard first-hand what people go through made a climbing project with refugees so appealing to me. There is so much joy at the sessions, so much support, and so much laughter. It's a community!
It's hard to pick favourite moments - one for sure is when one of the young men turned to me with a look of awe on his face and said, "Helene, when I am on the wall, I am not thinking about anything else!" Imagine that! I also quite enjoy it when some new climbers come along and flash my projects. I mean, are you kidding me?!
For more information on how the British Red Cross helps refugees in the UK click here.
How can you help?