Hundreds gathered to celebrate Refugee Week

HUNDREDS of people gathered in Concordia Hall, St Leonards, to celebrate Refugee Week last Wednesday (June 18).

Some 400 people from members of Hastings’ diverse communities attended the event, including the Mayor, Cllr Bruce Dowling, the Council leader, Cllr Jeremy Birch, and the lead member for equalities, Cllr Kim Forward.

Refugee Week celebration in St Leonards.

Refugee Week celebration in St Leonards.

Refugee Week, held on June 16-22, is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities, celebrating the contribution of refugees to the UK while promoting an understanding of why people seek sanctuary. Cllr Forward said: “This year, Refugee Week focused on children and young people from asylum and refugees backgrounds, to celebrate the important part they play in our shared futures, the wonderful contributions they are making to our society, and to recognise the resilience and determination they show when rebuilding their lives in a strange, new country. I am very proud of the contribution made by local people who come from communities from different backgrounds.

“An especially touching moment was when Oli Rahman, the chairman of Hastings Intercultural Organisation (HIO), presented an award to former councillor Jay Kramer in recognition of her role as HIO ambassador and her dedicated service to our communities from different backgrounds.”

Oli said: “It was great to see many people of different linguistic and cultural background taking part. There was a huge turnout and the foods were delicious. The performances were fantastic.” For more information about Refugee Week please visit or