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November Update

Belper Refugee Welcome’s 2022 Christmas Tree is ready to view at Christ Church!


Belper Refugee Welcome has again joined in the Christ Church Christmas Tree Festival along with many other organisations in Belper. You can view the trees at Christ Church from Saturday 10 December until Saturday 24 December between 10am and 6.30 pm. Our theme this year is one of celebrating Belper’s tradition of welcome with stars saying “Welcome” in different languages and acknowledgement of all the many different local groups that extend a welcome to the local community.


Our tree looking welcoming and festive

Three successful fundraising events!

A busy but rewarding month with some really great events to support the bank balance.

Errol Lynton at the George and Dragon

Many thanks to Councillor Dick Watson who saw an opportunity to raise £439 for us when he turned a visit by Errol Lynton to the George & Dragon, into a benefit for us. It was a really lovely evening. Errol’s band is brilliant and they fitted Belper in to their country-wide tour. The samosas were good too!

Christmas Lights Switch on stall

Our stall at the Belper Christmas Lights turn-on was well supported and grateful thanks go to all who baked lovely cakes and biscuits, made wonderful preserves, knitted toys and headbands, loaned us a gazebo, donated saleable items, risked hypothermia and of course everyone who bought. This put another £220 into the coffers which will go to good use.

Quiz Nights at the King William in Milford

Wednesday night saw five of us trying to look like a quiz team at the King William, where for the last year they have been collecting money for us at their regular Wednesday quizzes. The landlord presented us with a cheque for £1,500 - an astounding amount, which left us almost speechless and rather moist eyed. It was another very enjoyable evening as well, with really friendly people, and we didn’t disgrace ourselves in the quiz either. The landlord has a remarkable, positive philosophy around charity, adopting a local one each year and putting the money for the quiz entries, and an enormous raffle, into the pot. This coming year sees them raising money for Belper Food Bank and last night got them off to a £200 start. Hats off to a genuine community support.

Our Big October News

On Tuesday 18th October, a small group of us set out from Belper, with our interpreter Rafi Turki, to meet and welcome the Syrian refugee family that was coming to settle in our town.

The photo above is us with our new banner designed and made for us by BRW member Ruth Lewis- Jones (with a little help from Donna Brooks). It’s in the colours of Derbyshire’s flag.


We had to wait quite a long time for the family but that was nothing compared with the 20 hours of travel they had undertaken to get here from Egypt. We loaded them onto the coach with their luggage and set off for Belper on a glorious sunny day which made Derbyshire look spectacular.


Despite their tiredness they have found the energy to go along with our full timetable of meetings and discussions during their first few days here. Already, two of the children are registered at school and will start after half term. We have registered them too for Universal Credit and organised health assessment appointments at the local surgery. We have shopped locally and introduced them to Derby. They have been on their first bus. We have explained the school system to them and how we plan to help them to learn English.


The house was furnished and warm for their arrival with a hot traditional meal waiting to be served to them. The beds were made and the kitchen stacked with food to help them through the first few days. The wifi was working and so they were able to contact friends and family immediately to announce their safe arrival in England.


Everyone in the family is so appreciative of what has been done for them. They can’t thank us enough. And everyone seems ready to grasp this opportunity with both hands and make the most of it. They will be a lovely family to work with.




It’s now becoming clear who is able to work directly with the family – either because they have specific skills and/or because they can make the time available. The project is working with a group of about 30 people (including core group members) to discuss how we go about this and train ourselves in particular areas.


So far, we have been thinking about the role of a volunteer and the overarching need to act always in a way that empowers the family. Never do for a family member what they could do for themselves, however helpful this seems at the time.


We have been discussing too what it must be like to not understand a word that is being said to you. This is a real possibility. Even if you get the gist, how is that ever enough ? We will be learning how to work alongside interpreters – and we have started learning a few words of Arabic.



Click here to go to our Gallery page to see how Belper celebrated its first Refugee Week. What a success it was We had a great time!


The Belper Ukraine Refugee Group is a local volunteer team hoping to help both Ukrainians who have had to leave their country because of the war, and their UK hosts. Belper Refugee Welcome continues to keep in touch with them and share information.

Here is the link to their website which gives all the latest news, events and courses for Ukrainian refugees in the local area.

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