On Saturday 5th October, JRS UK opened its doors at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre in Wapping for people to find out more about the lives of our refugee friends and the various projects that are ran by JRS to assist them. There were staff and volunteers present to explain the work they did and how our visitors could get practically involved in supporting our refugee friends.
Our guests were welcomed with refreshments before listening to our Director, Sarah Teather, who introduced the history, mission and values of JRS for those who may not have been aware of it. She then described the situation of our refugee friends, explaining that we accompany those who have been made destitute by the asylum process and those detained indefinitely in centres near Heathrow Airport. She was then joined by one of our refugee friends who shared some of her experiences of the challenge of living through destitution whilst seeking sanctuary and how JRS had helped her and her two sons. She spoke of some of the activities she has taken part in, her love of cooking and the joy she felt at being able to volunteer to help others who are in need. Our guests were touched by her story and her warm character.
Our guests were then able to move around the main room at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre, where stalls with information about the different teams at JRS had been set up. They spoke to staff and volunteers, with some very interesting and encouraging conversations taking place. Those who attended were from a variety of backgrounds; people from local parishes, those working for other organisations working refugees and some supporters of JRS who had never had the chance to visit the centre.
Nick, Community Outreach Officer at JRS said “It was great to welcome people to our centre. I spend a lot of my time going out to talk about the work we do here at JRS, so being able to turn that around and invite people to come and see where our work takes place was a lovely experience. I’m glad we had a very good turnout with plenty of interesting people accepting our invitation and engaging in conversation with us”.
JRS would like to thank everyone who came along to our first Come and See Event, making it a fruitful day.