A Day in the Dales for asylum seekers


Jack Sutton’s photo: Friends – two young asylum seekers at Aysgarth Falls

Children in Wensleydale formed friendships with asylum seekers living in the North East when the Quakers from Bainbridge Meeting House and other volunteers hosted a Day out in the Dales on Monday July 25.

The organising group (Gwen Clark, Jennie White, Vanda Hurn, Sue Stokes, Andrea Hunter and Nancy Sutton) chose Carperby as the best venue with its sports pavilion and village hall. Flyers about the event were delivered to all residents and holiday makers in the village and many joined in with the fun.

‘We must have had over 40 people from the community turn up to wash dishes, prepare food, clear up, offer workshops or just chat and be welcoming. We had a good number of local children who joined in, made friends and played,’ Jennie White said.

There were 48 asylum seekers including 24 children, who came on the coach booked by Darlington Assistance for Refugees with the cost covered by the Bainbridge Quaker Local Meeting and donations.

Their day in Wensleydale began with drinks and biscuits at Carperby pavilion and then the freedom to enjoy the playing fields and children’s playground. Some played football and others had fun with the various sports equipment organised by Vanda Hurn.

There were also craft workshops: felt making with Andrea Hunter; face painting with Julie Edwardson and Sue Stokes; button making with Fran Flanagan; plus painting pebbles. Volunteers prepared a generous vegetarian lunch in the village hall and there were plenty of tray bakes for desserts.

Afterwards, they finished craft making before going with their new friends to Aysgarth Falls where there was a decent amount of water. Tubs of ice cream were provided by Gill Harrison from the Wensleydale Ice Cream Parlour.

The next day Jennie White received a thank you from one of the asylum seekers who stated: ‘You organized a wonderful organization for us yesterday. We had a lot of fun with my family. Your hospitality was also great. Food and desserts were also delicious. I want to thank all the participants, from the oldest to the youngest.’

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