Fundraising concert success

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A Chichester concert has raised almost £800 in aid of Sanctuary in Chichester and Portsmouth’s Friends Without Borders, both of which provide support for asylum seekers and refugees.

At In Search of Sanctuary, held at St Paul’s Parish Centre on 2 June, performers used poetry readings, music and song to explore the refugee experience. The accomplished singers and pianists and a violinist, clarinettist, cellist, guitarist and fiddle player performed an eclectic range of pieces from classical and pop music, to folk and musical theatre, interspersed with poetry.

The event – which raised a grand total of £797.40 – was organised by soprano Rebecca Grove, with support from her father Chris Grove and friend, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Peat.

Rebecca Zeman, from Sanctuary in Chichester, said: “Saturday’s concert was a wonderful and moving occasion, with extraordinary performances from all those who took part.

“We would like to extend a huge thanks to Rebecca, in particular, for her hard work in organising the event, to all the performers, and to everyone who gave so generously. The money raised will be a huge help in supporting our work.”

• On 7 October, at 6pm, Rebecca and Stephanie – along with harpist Frances Kelly – will perform in another fundraiser for Sanctuary in Chichester at Holy Trinity Church, Bosham.

Sanctuary in Chichester barn dance

On Saturday 13th October, Sanctuary in Chichester is putting on a barn dance! The event will be a great opportunity for our community to come together and enjoy an evening of music and dancing – all in aid of refugees and asylum seekers.

Portsmouth folk band Squinty McGinty’s will be playing, with caller and valued Sanctuary volunteer Helen Floyd leading the dances. The evening will kick off at 7.30pm and dancing will continue until late.

We’ll also be holding a raffle with prizes kindly donated by Fontwell Park Racecourse, Chichester Festival Theatre, CRED Jewellery and Montezuma’s among other local businesses and organisations.

Tickets for the barn dance are available through EventBrite. Alternatively, you can send an email to sanctuaryinchichester@gmail.com and pay by bank transfer.

It’s set to be a brilliant night – we very much hope to see you there!

7.30pm, Saturday 13th October.
Fishbourne Centre, Blackboy Lane, Fishbourne, Chichester, PO18 8BE.

Trip to Gaston Farm

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The original idea of a walk up to Nore Folly and through Slindon woods was abandoned because of muddy footpaths and ankle deep puddles. Fortunately, an attractive alternative was close at hand: lambing at Gaston Farm in Slindon. And so our plan B became an A star occasion.

It was a beautiful sunny Spring day, quite a rare occurrence during March 2018. In total we were a happy band of eighteen, including two children. Cars parked, we approached the farm buildings with a sense of anticipation not at all sure what we might see. First stop was a hangar size building where our friends were introduced to the British tradition of queuing, even though it wasn’t clear what lay beyond. Our reward was to be seated on straw bales and handed a delightful warm bundle of yellow feathers, first a tiny chick and then a duckling, each one a few days old.

Once we prised ourselves away from the hangar we moved on to an open air enclosure where new born lambs huddled close to their mothers. Nearby in a small brick building we were again invited to sit on straw bales, this time to hold a new born lamb and feel the warmth of it’s body through the wool. What a joy. Adults as well as the children were excited and moved by the experience.

Bit by bit we all arrived at the farm picnic tables, where our friends displayed their generosity and forward-planning by laying out a feast of savoury and sweet delights for us to share and enjoy in the sunshine. We also shared our thoughts and feelings about what we had seen and enjoyed being together, no one in a hurry to move on.

There was more to come. A bumpy ride on a trailer pulled by a tractor took us out of the farm, up through Slindon on to the downland from where we could see the South Downs and Bignor Hill in one direction, Chichester Cathedral in another and the sea in yet another. We saw sheep lying on the grass with their off-spring standing on their backs. Not just a delightful pastoral scene. The tractor driver explained that lambs do this to rouse their mothers so that they can get beneath to feed.

It was lovely occasion, one to be remembered for the new experiences and for the feeling of companionship.

Annie Conway

In Search of Sanctuary

CHICHESTER CONCERT: SATURDAY 2 JUNE 7.30PM

Musicians and singers will use poetry readings, music and song to explore the refugee experience at a coming event.

At In Search of Sanctuary at St Paul’s Parish Centre, accomplished singers, pianists, a violinist, a guitarist, a cellist, a clarinettist and a fiddle player will perform an eclectic range of pieces from classical and pop music to folk and musical theatre, interspersed with poetry.

Admission is free. No ticket or pre-booking required, with all donations going to Sanctuary in Chichester and Portsmouth’s Friends Without Borders which, like Sanctuary, provides support for asylum seekers and refugees.

The June event is being organised by soprano Rebecca Grove, with support from her father Chris Grove and friend mezzo-soprano Stephanie Peat. The concert is the latest in a series of musical fundraisers Rebecca has worked on.

Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be served. Free parking is available outside St Paul’s Church, Churchside, Chichester, PO19 FT6.

For more information, call 01243 781370.

Staying safe online

SECURITY TIPS

Before you go into battle against the scammers and hackers, find people to go into battle with you. Even just their advice, or having someone to talk to, is valuable. So here is a list:-

  1. Computer magazines. They’re a fund of information, and probably have a security section like this one.
  2. Computer shops. They can be helpful. Go in and buy something, then have a chat with the person behind the counter and pick their brains!
  3. Chat to IT specialists – if there are any – at your place of work. They might have some advice.
  4. Evening classes in computing – beginners’ or advanced – at your local college. They can give people a chance to share their knowledge with each other.
  5. Make friends with your bank’s fraud department. Having them on your side and working for you will be a very good help when protecting your money, and they will watch out for any payments you didn’t intend to make, or any devious small print, committing you to regular payments you don’t actually want to make. Small print doesn’t usually appear on the screen, unless you scroll down. The fraud department will probably spot that for you.

EMAIL AND INTERNET

  1. Never give personal information, such as passwords, to anyone. This sounds obvious – until someone does actually ask for your personal information! And they will. Sometimes, if it’s a person you yourself have contacted, and who hasn’t taken you by surprise, you might be safe giving one or two details, but never your password, or pin number. If they ask for those things, then you can be 100% certain they’re up to no good.
  2. Don’t click on links in an email, you never know where they might lead, or even what simply clicking on them might do. They might crash your system, flood your computer – or your phone – with malware. You never know. Again, there are people you can trust, like your internet provider, who may send you a link to reset your password – but they will most likely tell you first that they will be doing that.
  3. Make sure your antivirus system keeps an eye open for unwanted emails.  The email protection that antivirus programs provide is good, but sometimes the protection won’t start until it is activated by you.
  4. Don’t use Wi-fi in public places, such as at an airport or café. There are programs out there called ‘network sniffers’. That boy in the corner watching a computer game might be doing no more than that – or he might have one of those ‘sniffer’ programs running in the background. The ‘sniffer’ monitors all of the wireless data flowing through a particular network to reach your email inbox – and that data can include important information – such as usernames and passwords. So wait to check your emails until you are safely in your hotel room, or some other secure and private location.
  5. Watch what you’re sharing on social networks. Criminals can befriend you and easily gain access to a shocking amount of information—where you go to school, where you work, when you’re on vacation—that could help them gain access to more valuable data.
  6. It is a good idea to have separate email accounts: one for friends and family, one for work, etc. Then, even if you take risks with one – because you have to make that call to your family – at least you can be sure your other account will be safe.
  7. Shopping on the Internet can be tricky. The websites of well-known stores like John Lewis and Sainsburys are pretty safe. Amazon look after their customers, too, so you should be safe with them. However, be very careful of shops you don’t know, and free vouchers – or any other pop-ups or balloons – that appear from nowhere. If in doubt, check that it is a secure webpage where you are shopping. There should be a padlock or something next to the address bar, or the letters ‘https://’.

ON THE PHONE

  • If the people who call you won’t say who they are, but ask who you are – ring off.
  • If you say ‘Hello’ and there’s a long pause, and they just say ‘Hello’ back to you – ring off. They’re up to no good.
  • If they say “Congratulations, you’ve won a prize,” they’re after your details, which they would then ask you to provide, pretending that you need to provide them in order to claim their so-called, non-existent prize. So ring off.
  • If they say they’re from Microsoft, or BT, or some huge firm that would never bother to phone an individual, ignore them. Be ruthless. Ring off. They even sometimes phone you when they know you’re online and sitting at your computer. So again, just ring off, otherwise they can get to you.

ABUSIVE PHONE CALLS

With unwanted calls – heavy breathing or whatever – just put the phone down on the table (not on the phone cradle, since that allows people to ring again) and let the abuser carry on talking into thin air – and he will also be paying for the call!

ON FACEBOOK

Make sure to adjust your Privacy Settings, which you will find in the top right-hand part of the screen, on the blue bar. There’s a little picture/icon of a padlock – it’s black on a blue background, so it’s not easy to see at first. There are various options, so have a look at them all, and click on the ones you want. And then keep checking those options you ticked, in case someone is able to alter them.

There are endless security tips available, and new ones are needed all the time, but these are just a few pieces of good advice. So feel free to copy and paste them and then print them out.

Richard France

Child refugee film shares bill with AGM

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An acclaimed film about the unaccompanied child refugees left stranded by the closure of the Calais Jungle will be shown at Sanctuary in Chichester’s first ever AGM.

Calais Children: a Case to Answer by award-winning director Sue Clayton follows the young people, many of whom had a legal right to come to the UK, over the year since their forced eviction.

The film will be shown after our AGM, which starts at 7.30pm on 7 March 2018 at St Paul’s Church, Churchside, Chichester, PO19 6FT. The hour-long film is likely to start at around 8.05pm.

Everyone is welcome to both the AGM and the film. Admission is free, although there will be a voluntary collection. Refreshments will be served.

Roger in Pask, Sanctuary in Chichester chair, said: “The meeting will mainly be a celebration of a year of amazing achievements by a large number of our volunteers – so please note the date in your diary and be sure to join us.”

Great start for our fundraising appeal

Our fundraising appeal has got off to a terrific start, with people giving a total of £4,000 (10% of our £40,000 target) in just two months. A big thank you to everyone who has donated!

The money has been raised through one-off donations, new regular giving standing orders and sales from Christmas cards. This successful launch has given us great confidence that we’ll reach our goal of £40,000, and so be able to sustain and expand our support for refugees and asylum seekers in West Sussex.

We’ve got a pipeline of future events and activities lined up to support our appeal.

On March 23, at 7.30pm, we’re hosting a performance of The Bundle at Chichester’s St Paul’s Church. This powerful drama follows one woman’s fight to gain asylum in the UK, and has been toured nationwide by the Journeymen Theatre Company. Find out more here and ticket information.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to our appeal so far.
Find out more about how to donate and what you are helping to do.

Play reveals UK asylum maze

On 23 March 2018, Sanctuary in Chichester is bringing a powerful drama about the challenges of achieving asylum in the UK to West Sussex.

Bundle

The Bundle is based on the real-life story of Adilah, a lawyer, and her three young children who flee from their abusive home in Chechnya to find safety in Britain. The play follows Adilah as she confronts the Kafkaesque twists and turns of the UK asylum system, giving insights into the inner workings of the Home Office on the way.

“This simple play exposes the complex reasons why people seek asylum – why they want to come to Britain and the minefields they encounter once they get here,” says Roger Pask, Sanctuary in Chichester’s chair.

“It does this in a compelling and moving way, that invites us to draw upon our strengths as human beings to identify with the plight of refugees – and to recognise that each refugee is our neighbour.”

The Bundle is performed – and was researched and written – by the Journeymen Theatre company. Since being commissioned by the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network, the play has toured across the UK.

The Bundle will be staged at 7.30pm on 23 March at St Paul’s Church, Churchside, Chichester, PO19 6FT. It runs for around 65 minutes and will be followed by a discussion.

The suggested donation for tickets is £5 or £2 for students. They can be ordered in advance from sanctuaryinchichester@gmail.com (donation and collection on the door), or on the door from 7pm on 23 March. They are also available from St Olav Christian Bookshop, 81A North Street, Chichester PO19 1LQ, by cash or a cheque payable to Sanctuary in Chichester.

Proceeds will go to Sanctuary in Chichester and to other UK refugee support groups.

A visit to Sanctuary in Parliament

Tuesday 28th November was the day of the annual Sanctuary in Parliament event, organised by City of Sanctuary. The event, which used the hashtag #DignityNotDestitution, focused on the negative effects the UK asylum process has on the lives of those who seek sanctuary in our country – forcing people into poverty and homelessness, and threatening the mental health of those who need the most support.

I attended the event with a young refugee who has been a huge part of the Sanctuary in Chichester community for many months now. After an introduction from the Chair, Sabir Zazai, we listened to testimonies from refugees and asylum seekers explaining the consequences of three main issues in the asylum process: not being allowed to work, inadequate financial support and a short transition period when granted asylum.

Asylum seekers in the UK are currently only allowed to work after 12 months in the country – but then they can only choose from an extremely restrictive list of very specialist professions. This leads to forced inactivity for those awaiting a decision on their case, which can take years. As well as not being able to work, asylum seekers receive just £5 per day – hardly enough to meet the needs of a dignified life. When asylum seekers receive leave to remain, they are given less than one month to find new accommodation and financial support, which can lead to homelessness and destitution. Hearing personal stories detailing the effects of such policies was extremely powerful and brought home how desperately the system is in need of reform.

In response, City of Sanctuary proposes new policies: firstly, that asylum seekers should be allowed to work after 6 months and should have access to jobs outside of the restrictive list; secondly, that asylum seekers should receive 70% of mainstream income support instead of the current level of 50%; and finally, that the transition period should increase from 28 days to 50 days, giving new refugees enough time to find new support.

The exploration of these issues was followed by poetry read by schoolchildren, and refugees and asylum seekers. The event ended with the wonderful Sussex Syrian Community children’s choir, whose beautiful singing was the perfect melodic, hopeful note to end on.

For more details on the issues above and City of Sanctuary’s proposals, please click here.

Tazmin Mirza at Sanctuary in Chichester

A fundraising campaign to expand our work in West Sussex

IMG_8692Sanctuary in Chichester has launched an ambitious fundraising campaign to help grow our work in West Sussex.

Our volunteers aim to raise £40,000 in the next two years to expand our work to offer support for refugees and asylum seekers.

The money will help:

  • Create more drop-in facilities, to add to the two weekly sessions we already offer
  • Help more Syrian refugee families arrive and settle in West Sussex, along with the three families who are already here
  • Extend our language learning service
  • Offer more friendship-building and mentoring opportunities, potentially using sport as a focus
  • Provide shelter to destitute asylum-seekers, sometimes at short notice
  • Increase awareness of, and access to, our services
  • Boost understanding among local residents of the issues that refugees and asylum seekers face.

    Donate here.

Sanctuary in Chichester will be holding a range of events to support the campaign, with plans including a local presentation of The Bundle, a powerful drama about the challenges asylum seekers face in the UK.

Roger Pask, our Chairman, says that donors are the life blood of the work that we do. “The sense of welcome and belonging that has grown for our Syrian families and young asylum-seekers in all of our work this year has become palpable.

“I am really proud of the efforts of everyone in our network and of Sanctuary in Chichester as a team. Everyone who donates and everyone who is involved in our many activities makes this welcome and sense of belonging possible.”

The fundraising campaign kicks off on ‘Giving Tuesday’ (November 28, 2017), a day when – following the conspicuous consumption of Black Friday – people are encouraged to give to good causes. Our supporters have always been incredibly generous and we hope they’ll back us again – either by fundraising on our behalf or offering a donation. Regular giving by standing order is particularly valuable, as it gives us the security to plan ahead.

Read our fundraising leaflet here.

Find out how to donate here.

We’ll be giving regular updates on coming fundraising events and on progress towards our £40,000 goal on our website and social media.