Over the last 20 years, the Links Project has been working with immigrants and asylum seekers right here in Hastings and St Leonards.
This year to mark national refugee week, which ran from June 18th – 24th, the Links Project – which is supported by Hastings Borough Council – celebrated acts of welcome shown to refugees by individuals and communities across the UK and Europe.
The theme for this year was ‘Step up and stand with refugees’. The Mayor of Hastings, councillor Nigel Sinden and his deputy James Bacon both attended an event in the Concordia Hall last week, afterwards Mr Sinden said: “Today is a celebration. A celebration of the contributions from all refugees in our society but also a day where we can learn and understand more about why people take refuge and educate others here in Hastings about these reasons.
“Because then we can become a more compassionate and caring community.
“In a world which sometimes seems to be destructive and far from loving, today we can remember all those who we love and cherish and remember that we are all members of the one race and that is the human race and to be human is to act with kindness, to share and learn from each other.
“This sharing of different cultures makes Hastings a more vibrant, exciting, caring, diverse, tolerant and colourful place to live.
“I am proud to be here today, proud to be celebrating refugee week and proud to be part of flying the banner of one Hastings many voices.”
Marc Turczanski, Links Project coordinator added: “We have met some incredibly vulnerable but brave people often who first arrive here with only the clothes they have travelled in, with little English and limited understanding of life in the UK.
“Our aim has always been to make them feel welcome and that our project is a safe space for them. We have also seen some incredible acts of kindness, generosity and acceptance by the people of Hastings, some of whom only have a small amount to give themselves.”
The Links Project is a multi-agency support and advice project for asylum seekers, refugees and new migrant communities living in East Sussex. It runs a drop in on Wednesday each week from 10.30am – 4pm at Concordia Hall, Church Road, St Leonards and also provides telephone support during the rest of the week.