The launch of our website feels like an appropriate time to write a quick WELCOME post, and provide a short story-so-far project update.

The seed of South Downs Refugee Project came about sometime in the second lockdown last year. Like lots of us I imagine I was sat at home caught somewhere between two extremes. On the one side huge gratitude for the food in the fridge, good accommodation, supportive local community, and lovely surrounding countryside to stomp around on for our ‘daily exercise’. On the other side of course the strange new reality of ‘lock-down’ and the loss of agency of being at home day after day.  

Anyway, at some point I came across an article about Community Sponsorship. It was about the success of various groups in towns and villages across the UK, and how the scheme was being extended. It planted a seed. I stated to wonder whether there might energy for setting up a Community Sponsorship group here to work towards offering a refugee family a fresh start in our lovely village. I was drawn to the idea of the opportunity to make a direct, profound difference to the opportunity and stability of one family, and along side that, to build local connections, and meet like-minded people.

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The original peace in Hassocks Life

An initial call-out in Hassocks Life introduced me to my fellow steering group members, all based locally, and started a small contact list of supporters which we hope to grow in the coming weeks and months. Fast forward through lots of conversations and practical preparations, and here we are!

Of course, in some ways it’s a strange time to launch new things as we approach the end of Covid restrictions (fingers-crossed)! But we decided to go for it – with a socially distanced launch for now, and lots of in-person activities planned as restrictions are lifted;

  • We’ll be at the Hassocks Village Market at the end of July – come and say hello.
  • We are planning a fundraising concert – Raise the Roof – in Danny House on Sat 28th August. More info and tickets here.
  • we’re planning a launch night a little later in the summer – details to be confirmed.
  • And lots more ideas and activities in around around the area are in the pipeline! 

So thanks for reading. Whether you’re here to just check the project out, are thinking about making a donation, wondering about fundraising, signing up for activities, or joining the mailing list for future updates, a warm welcome to you all… 

Tom Bailey – steering group chair

The Steering Group – thus far via Zoom!