Calderdale's hundreds of messages showing refugees a warm welcome to the area

Amber Ray, Arsalan Ghasemi, Rabia Zaka and Laurence Larroche from St Augustine's CentreAmber Ray, Arsalan Ghasemi, Rabia Zaka and Laurence Larroche from St Augustine's Centre
Amber Ray, Arsalan Ghasemi, Rabia Zaka and Laurence Larroche from St Augustine's Centre
Calderdale people have been sharing messages of hope, love and kindness to show refugees and asylum seekers they are welcome in the borough.

St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax put out a plea for welcome messages to fill orange hearts which they plan to display at a forthcoming event.

They say they have had hundreds of responses and particular support from local schools

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Amber Ray, from the centre, said: “Our campaign to make orange hearts of welcome is an opportunity for Calderdale to show that we are a welcoming borough that celebrates the contribution that refugees and people seeking asylum make in our community.

“All types of people have sent us messages of welcome, but we have been especially inspired by the outpouring of support from schools.

“We are receiving hundreds of inspiring messages filled with hope, love and kindness from Calderdale’s young people.”

The project is in support of a campaign by Together With Refugees, with the orange heart representing compassion for people fleeing war and persecution.

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The centre supports refugees and people seeking asylum, and its work includes supporting families who have escaped from countries such as Afghanistan, where thousands of people fled from two months ago when the Taliban returned to power.

These people, who have had to leave their homes through no fault of their own, often need counselling and help with learning English and socialising.

The centre is also supporting people who still have loved ones in Afghanistan and are desperately worried for their safety. MP for Halifax Holly Lynch has been running sessions at the centre to offer what help she can.

The centre’s team were overwhelmed by the amount of donations and messages of support when the Afghanistan refugee crisis hit the headlines back in August.

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They are still in need of technology and can make use of old mobile phones, laptops and tablets which are wiped and repaired to be used again.

Technology donations can be dropped off at the main reception at D Mill in Dean Clough in Halifax, who are organising a collection.

In order to be ready for the cold months ahead, they are also in need of scarves, gloves and mittens; warm coats for men, women and children; new men’s underwear and socks; and sportswear for young men.

Anyone who can help with these donations or offers of cash and new toiletries, or volunteering time can find out more at or email the team at [email protected].