Thanks to the lottery funding we received after winning the most votes in the East Midlands region for the People’s Project competition in March 2016, we now have a number of exciting new projects available to our members.
Some important objectives were to allow asylum seekers to help themselves and others by running their own courses and services, to help them volunteer more widely, and to harness the good will of the community.
Thanks to the generosity of one of our supporters, we were able to procure a polytunnel for Joel, one of our members, who loves to spend his spare time on his allotment, growing vegetables. We have supplied Joel with compost and other materials, and now that summer has finally arrived in Leicester, the allotment is blooming and the polytunnel is full. Joel supplies fresh vegetables to others in need, and we are looking forward to receiving a box of produce shortly at the drop-in.
On the subject of food, Linton, our celebrated chef, recently delivered his first cooking lesson to a group of eight other members who were keen to learn some healthy recipes that could be produced on a budget.
The course was held at Softtouch Arts and started with a talk by Lizzie from the NHS. She emphasised the importance of eating regularly and explained how to store different foods to keep them safe and make them last longer. The group then set off to Leicester Market to buy the ingredients for the recipe of chickpea curry and rice. On their return the class participated in either chopping onions, adding spices, washing the rice and of course tasting the sauce mix. Soon everyone sat around a large table together enjoying the mouthwatering food.
Participants were presented with a goodie bag containing all the ingredients, a copy of the recipe, and a Certificate. We are all looking forward to the second session scheduled for August.
Summer of course means holidays for the children, and our drop-in is attracting record numbers – up from the usual 80+ to 130+. To keep the children busy, we have set up a summer craft club, monitored by the mums and dads at the drop-in. The first session attracted around 25 children who loved making masks and creations from loom bands. During the second week we were lucky to have a giant puppet lantern project brought in by Artreach. Whilst the lantern was drying the kids also enjoyed nail art in a range of luminous colours and applied decorative tattoos to their arms. Future sessions will feature bead crafts and badge making.
And while the kids are busy crafting, the adults are enjoying a new games club. The Ismaili community kindly donated and delivered two table tennis tables to our drop-in, and we now have a regular group of players each week. For those who prefer more sedentary games, we have chess, backgammon, drafts and karom.
July was a very proud month for six of our members. These ladies completed a 12 week course organised by Leicester Mammas to train as Volunteer Breastfeeding Supporters. On 13th July the new Mammas celebrated their graduation at the Lord Mayor’s Room at New Walk Museum, followed by a delicious buffet lunch. Well done ladies – you are an amazing group and we look forward to your work supporting new mums in the local community. A huge thanks to Leicester Mammas for giving us this opportunity.
Other initiatives include a Sanctuary football team who meet every Saturday morning, a dress making class who are busy learning to make their own clothes, and a joint art project with asylum seekers and school children from Glebelands Primary School.
The local community has been very generous and has provided a canal trip, a day out in Billesden village and a tour of BBC Radio Leicester.
Upcoming projects that our members will be participating in include Sanctuary Radio, a writing project, a print making workshop, and a photography project.
Watch out! We have much more to say about project and it’s progress!!