Peak District is breath of fresh air for refugees and asylum seekers
Refugees and asylum seekers pulled on their wellies to enjoy their first experience of the Peak District National Park.
The visit was organised by Peak District National Park ranger Sally Wheal and colleagues Rob Kenning and Pete Bush, along with Derby-based charity Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity (DRS).
The trip to Bradford Dale – with visits to Youlgreave and Alport - included refugees and asylum seekers from different countries.
DRS volunteer Ranald Macdonald said: “Trips such as this one are valuable because they provide an opportunity for the asylum seekers, refugees and volunteers to get out of the city and experience the wonderful countryside that surrounds us.
“Just as important, it provides an opportunity to practice their English and the rangers gave us lots of information about the area through which we were walking.
“A lovely local lady provided tea and cake in Youlgreave Village Hall which, together with lunch brought along by DRS volunteers, also led to further conversation in English, a very important skill for all our asylum seekers and refugees.”
Staff at the Peak District National Park’s headquarters, Aldern House in Bakewell, donated warm clothes, boots and sleeping bags for the charity to distribute to refugee camps in Calais.
Sally Wheal added: “Getting out into nature has a very restorative effect on both mental and physical health. We hope to welcome the group again in the New Year and help them to experience more of what the Peak District has to offer and make more positive memories.”
Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity is based at St Anne’s Church in Derby and is part of a grassroots movement working to provide aid and support to refugees. They run a drop-in centre and volunteers have been involved in several convoys to Calais and Dunkirk delivering aid to refugees and volunteering in the camps. They also send containers of aid directly to Syria.