A VARIED programme of events will be taking place next month to celebrate the contribution that refugees make to the city and promote understanding of why people seek sanctuary.

The national festival Refugee Week is being marked in Bradford from June 18 to 24 and a planning group is hoping to put the city on the map, with details of refugee resources available locally.

Deb Collett of Artworks Creative Communities and Planning Group member said: “Absolutely every event during the festival is free, that’s because of the level of support and solidarity that so many different organisations throughout Bradford have shown and is also thanks to some of the grant funding that we’ve received to support some of the events.

“There are 39 organisations involved, including venues that have made us welcome, people who are producing workshops, some of the schools that are participating in the Schools of Sanctuary programme, from people that have given financial donations, and the organisations from whom the Bradford Refugee Week Planning Group is drawn. It’s a real broad base of organisations right across the district

“In terms of events, there are three different exhibitions, with the main one being Our Shared Future which is the theme of the entire national Refugee Week. There are a whole host of community-based events that are aimed primarily to welcome refugees and asylum seekers or are organised by them, and they are open to others as well.

“There are a number of events that are looking at the issues surrounding why people seek sanctuary, and they vary from a discussion on international activism to Bradford Amnesty International putting on an event on the Saturday.

“And then there is a fantastic range of films throughout the week. We’ve got six different film shows, ranging from Citizen Reporting from Syria, to a film at Bradford Cathedral, Cry of Love.”

Some of the organisations have been involved in Refugee Week events for a number of years, such as BEACON, City of Sanctuary, Refugee Forum and Bradford Community Broadcasting. And this year Speakers’ Corner, the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford Literature Festival, Freedom Studios and others, are involved for the first time.

BEACON will be holding it’s long-running Walk for Justice sponsored walk from the city to Leeds to raise awareness of issues facing asylum seekers on June 21. In addition Bradford City of Sanctuary is presenting Our Shared Future, an art exhibition, curated by Mary Blacka at Bradford University’s Gallery II throughout the week.

She said: “There will be work from schools, art students and established artists, including refugees and asylum seekers. The theme, Our Shared Future, has produced some thought-provoking work, including photographs by Jax Griffin, illustrating just what asylum seekers can buy with their weekly allowance of £35 and Get a Grip, a wall-hanging produced by refugee women.”

There will also be the Lunar Lunch before the Launch, at Delius Arts and Culture Centre, Great Horton Road, a communal meal for those breaking the fast.as the week coincides with Ramadan this year.

Refugee groups around the city will also be organising social events, parties and picnics, and sharing stories throughout the week.

Programmes and leaflets detailing all the events available are being distributed, and a full list is available on the national refugeeweek.org.uk website.