Celebrating kindness and inclusion this Refugee Week

Central Library

Events are taking place across Calderdale this national Refugee Week(external link) (17-23 June 2024), with organisations coming together as part of the Year of Culture, to celebrate kindness and inclusion.

Through a programme of arts, cultural, sports and educational events, Refugee Week celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking asylum.

This year’s national theme of ‘Our Home’ inspires conversations about what ‘home’ means to different people. In partnership with Calderdale Valley of Sanctuary(external link) and as a CultureDale(external link) key project, Calderdale Council is supporting Refugee Week events to raise awareness, share stories, and celebrate diversity.

During the week, Halifax Central Library and Archives is hosting a virtual reality drop-in session on Friday 21 June from 10am-12noon.

The innovative ‘This is Your Country Too’ experience is set in Heathrow Airport in 1968, where participants find themselves in a scenario where they are refused entry to the UK, despite holding a British passport.

This informative, but entertaining session is based on real-life experiences and deals with themes including identity and overcoming adversity.

Calderdale Libraries hold the Library of Sanctuary Award, which recognises the libraries’ exceptional dedication to providing support and fostering inclusivity for refugees and people seeking sanctuary. 

It’s 12-months since libraries received this prestigious award and the Council works hard to continually improve the libraries’ offer for those seeking sanctuary. Milestones throughout the last year include:

  • Adding stock in different languages including dual language editions for children.
  • Visiting those seeking sanctuary in locations across the borough to deliver a range of events, including craft and story sessions, Baby Bounce and sensory events.
  • Visiting primary schools to inform children and parents about the library offer and the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) resources.
  • Hosting the ‘My Name is Not Asylum Seeker!’ exhibition about the everyday lives and experiences of people who have sought asylum in the UK. 
  • Providing free membership for all.
  • Continuing to improve multi language e-resources.

Calderdale Council’s Assistant Director of Customer Services, Sarah Richardson, said:

“We’re really proud to support Refugee Week in Calderdale, both as a Council and alongside our communities and partner organisations. This year’s events feature as key projects in our CultureDale programme, ensuring that our Year of Culture is something that everyone is able to enjoy.

“We work hard all year round to ensure that our services can support everyone in Calderdale to live a larger life and that we recognise the important contributions of our diverse communities to making our borough such a special place.

“This Refugee Week marks 12-months since our libraries were awarded the Library of Sanctuary accolade. The award is more than just a certificate, it’s a pledge to consider our communities in everything we do and ensure that our libraries safe, welcoming and accessible spaces, with facilities and resources for all.”

Further events for Refugee Week are taking place across the borough. Visit link) to find out more.

Get involved with the Year of Culture at link)