We aim to nurture a welcoming environment for refugees who have fled war and persecution by raising awareness of the issues facing refugees and asylum seekers. We believe that providing the general public and students with accurate information and hearing refugees own voices and stories are essential ways to try to counter the increasingly negative rhetoric that is too often found in some sections of the media. (e.g. Refugee Voices event hosted By ExCoS.
Our Awareness Raising group has over the years offered talks and workshops to organisations and community groups, as well as undertaking school workshops. The group is also involved in public events including The Exeter Respect Festival, #Refugee Week and we are a member of the #TogetherWithRefugees national coalition, calling for a kinder, fairer and more compassionate government approach to supporting refugees. If you would like us to come and talk to your group, arrange a workshop, host an event with us or find out more about the work of ExCoS – including how your organisation might welcome and support asylum seekers and refugees then then do contact us: – Contact Us
Refugee Week 2023, 19-25 June : We are doing workshops in 9 Exeter schools during refugee week this year. Using the #TogetherWithRefugees orange heart symbol, schoolchildren will be writing personal messages for our refugee and asylum seeking residents who have recently arrived in the city. These will be displayed at Exeter Quay as part of Exeter’s Refugee Week event on Saturday 24th June.
This was an ongoing project of the Awareness group which we started during Refugee Week 2016. The ‘Tree of Welcome ‘ was a public display of messages extending welcome, friendship and support towards the Syrian families who arrived in Exeter from 2016-2020. Personal messages and drawings were created on Hands of Welcome by Year 6 children at Alphington Primary School and members of the public during Refugee Week. These were added to subsequently by Yr. 6 classes at Ladysmith School and St. Sidwell’s Primary school. The messages and images contained on the Hands of Welcome are beautiful and inspiring and offer a clear and powerful voice, which collectively welcome newly arrived refugees with warmth and compassion.The ‘Tree of Welcome ‘was on display at venues in the city including Exeter City Council’s offices in Paris St..
Below: Images of individual Hands of Welcome and our Welcome Tree at St. Sidwell’s Community Centre.