Refugee Week 2024 launched at our cathedral

    18 June 2024

    IT was a riot of food, music and colour as our cathedral hosted the launch of Refugee Week.

    Hundreds of guests turned out for an evening of performances, including dance, music, poetry and the spoken word, at the start of a week in which we'll celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and those seeking sanctuary.

    The event was organised by Portsmouth City of Sanctuary and 432 Nomads, and was designed to kick off a week of activities across this area. Refugee Week, held between June 17 and 23 this year, is the world’s largest arts and culture festival - bringing together people from different backgrounds and fostering a deeper understanding of why people are displaced. 

    This year’s theme ’Our Home’ was brought to life through spectacular and energising performances by local people and people seeking sanctuary in Portsmouth. And free food was provided from the Kitchen of Hope project which gives volunteers an opportunity to use their skills and knowledge to cook dishes from their home countries.

    And the event also marked the fifth birthday of Portsmouth City of Sanctuary, which hosts regular drop-ins for asylum seekers and refugees at All Saints Church in Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

    Southsea Community Choir serenade guests as they arrive at our cathedral
    Fantastic free food was offered by the Kitchen of Hope project
    There were hundreds of guests there to help launch Refugee Week locally
    Portsmouth Dance Academy kicked off the evening in style
    Portsmouth's Chinese Dance Group provided graceful dancing and spectacular costumes
    The Filipino Fan Dancers showed off their traditional dance moves

    The evening began with singing from Southsea Community Choir outside the cathedral as guests arrived. There was then plenty of free food on offer from those involved with the Kitchen of Hope project.

    The chair of trustees for Portsmouth City of Sanctuary, Malcolm Little, invited guests to help celebrate the fifth birthday of the grassroots humanitarian charity, which has offered support to those seeking sanctuary in a variety of ways. And Canon Harriet Neale-Stevens from our cathedral, offered a prayer of blessing on all those who have found a home in our city, and those who seek to welcome them.

    Portsmouth Dance Academy kicked off the evening with a flamboyant routine, and there was also dancing later on from Bolivian dancers, El Salvador dancers and the Filipino Fan Dancers, all giving us a taste of traditional routines. 

    The Portsmouth Chinese Dance Group showcased their graceful dance routines and two different sets of spectacular costumes. The audience was left breathless at their expertise. 

    There was also piano-playing, singing, poetry and films to show during an evening in which aimed to showcase cultural and culinary contributions from those across our world. To find out more about Refugee Week, see:

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