It’s the end of the project year for our partnership with the CARAS team and the refugees and asylum-seekers they serve.

Of course we are going to do more all together in 2018, and we’re planning that now.

Yesterday was the end-of-year CARAS Saturday Youth Club party, enjoyed by over 50 young people and volunteers. 

It was a high-energy afternoon with continuous home-made food to keep us going.

 Alongside the ping pong and games:

  • we did more carpentry on the big pallet-table we’re making for the Tooting Community garden
  • we made lots of Christmas baubles as gifts
  • we made over 20 macramé knotted hanging planters, using offcuts of T shirts as the strings. We were thrilled to have Tooting spider plants and tradescantia from Share Community garden.
  • we finished the party with a gift game of choice and chance from the roll of the dice to select, give, and swap presents

The youth club is always a wonderful few hours when lots is offered and appreciated – all at the same time. 

So we’re sharing photos mixed together, like the day itself. Its impact and welcome always feels much more than the sum of all the separate activities spread over 3 or 4 hours.

Signs of Welcome workshop
Late in November we had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop at the Museum Of London. CARAS is included in the fascinating exhibition called The City is Ours. It’s on until 2nd January and all ages would enjoy the mix of imagination, facts and ideas about living in complex diverse city like London. It’s well worth visiting!

We ran a short hands-on workshop for children and adults in which we made Signs of Welcome, inviting anyone – including refugees and asylum-seekers – to rest, enjoy, join in with what they find in London.

Without a lot of theory or introduction, over 50 people drew and decorated their welcomes in many languages.     We used strips of recycled foamboard from the Work and Play Scrapstore in Earslfield. Just like using the re-purposed strips of T shirt to make hanging planters it was good to explain that the attractive materials were saved from waste.
It was an energising and also thoughtful hour. Many of the Signs were taken home and some were given to us for a future exhibition we’re thinking about. We’ll do this workshop again in 2018 locally.        It seems to touch participants and encourage them to say what they feel – and it’s a good design challenge that produces lovely images.
Thanks so much to everyone who has participated in & contributed to the Gardens of Refuge Project this year!
We’re proud that includes a broad and diverse group of young people, adults and families from the asylum-seeking and refugee community; CARAS staff and volunteers; local partners including Share Community, The Scrapstore, The Sound Lounge Trust, South London Makerspace, Fulham Timber, Martin Speed Ltd; TTT and Tooting Community Garden volunteers and session facilitators.
More to come in 2018 and get in contact if you would like to join in.