Stories

Weekend Club helps newcomers to Glasgow meet friends and get to know the city

Every city has its own language – the slang, the idioms, the weird words and phrases that you only really know instinctively if you grow up there. Glasgow of course is no different. So how can people who arrive here speaking another language be expected to know that ginger means juice and aye right actually means no way?

Learning local slang and having fun in the process is just one of the many ways Interfaith Glasgow’s Weekend Club helps people feel more at home in the city.

The Club runs monthly get-togethers for newcomers including people seeking refugee protection.The main point of the club is to welcome people to the city, to extend hospitality, show welcome and make new people feel at home here. It’s a chance for people – refugees and locals – to get to know each other and meet new friends.

The Weekend Club grew from Interfaith Glasgow’s recognition that many people feel more alone and isolated at the weekends. The Club meets on the last Saturday of the month and visits galleries, parks, and other sites of interest around the city.

Lynnda Wardle, project manager at Interfaith Glasgow, explains:

“We try to include an element of educational value on our monthly visits and something that introduces people to an element of Scottish life for people who are new here,” says Lynnda. “It’s a way for people to learn about aspects of Scottish culture and improve their language skills in fun and relaxed settings. We also try to encourage cultural sharing, so we create space for people to share food, stories and traditions from their different national and faith backgrounds.”

One thing that makes the Weekend Club unique is that it is organised by volunteers from many diverse faiths. These volunteers plan and deliver all the club’s events. Many people who joined initially as participants are now volunteers themselves, supporting and welcoming newcomers.  “It’s great to watch people grow in confidence over the course of their time in the Club,” says Lynnda.

At the moment the club has volunteers from several faiths including Sikh, Ba’hai, Muslim and Christian faiths, as well as people who are not religious.

“The ethos of interfaith work is to bring people from different faiths and beliefs together,” says Lynnda. “This is more important now than ever. It is crucial that we make sure our communities are open and diverse and welcoming. Faith communities are very open to supporting refugees and very supportive of our work as most faith traditions have a background in welcoming stories, welcoming strangers, looking after the persecuted and the lonely. Life is very difficult for people who are still in the asylum system. The system itself excludes people from mainstream society in so many ways – financially, socially, language can be difficult. People have so much to offer but years and years in the asylum system keeps people in a separate zone.”

One participant summed it up: “We can’t afford to go on trips and this was the first time we have travelled outside Glasgow! Thanks Weekend Club!”

And another said:“It was the best feeling ever; for me it feels like we are on a family holiday”;

Find out more about the Weekend Club by clicking here

Where Are You Really From?

Pinar Aksu is a community worker from Glasgow who has campaigned for many years on issues around asylum and detention. She is a powerful force working to support positive, integrated communities.

While studying for her Highers, Pinar became interested in theatre and in particular the Theatre of the Oppressed methods of storytelling. She applies these methods in her latest piece of community theatre, Where are You Really From?

The play explores the process of seeking refugee protection, the journeys people take and the labels we attach to each other.  Devised by people with direct experience of seeking asylum, the show includes a cast who are all from a refugee background. Audience participation and dialogue is encouraged.

Pinar explains more:

Welcome to Refugee Festival Scotland 2018

Welcome to Refugee Festival Scotland 2018!

On this page we’ll be sharing stories from the people who make Refugee Festival Scotland such a unique and special event. Over the next few weeks we’ll share stories from some of the many refugee-led community groups around the country as well as some of the organisations, performers and audiences taking part in the festival. We believe these stories show off Scotland at its best; friendly, welcoming and full of colour and creativity.

To get things started, here’s a quick word of welcome from Scottish Refugee Council’s Chief Executive, Sabir Zazai:

 

 

Help us celebrate the best media coverage of refugee stories

Have you read any really good media coverage of refugee issues this year? Seen any TV reports that explored the issues in a powerful way or been moved by something you’ve heard on the radio?

Our annual media awards celebrate the work of journalists covering stories related to refugee and asylum issues.

We know the media plays a big role in shaping people’s understanding and feelings about these issues. We know there is plenty of irresponsible, politically and ideologically-motivated coverage of these issues. But there is also lots of brilliant, in-depth, responsible and illuminating reporting that brings these stories to life. Our awards recognise these stories and honour the best reporting over the last twelve months by journalists based in Scotland.

 

Winners of Media Awards 2017

 

Get involved:

Anyone can nominate a piece of journalism they think worthy of an award – you don’t need to work in the media yourself.

Just send us this form and a link or pdf to the stories you’d like to nominate. Please return forms to media@scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk by 18 May 2018.

Click here for more info about the awards.

Click here for more info about the event.