Refugees make new friends in an explosion of sound and colour
Wrexham will be engulfed by an explosion of sound and colour next month, when it celebrates with people who fled their countries to find a home and safety in North Wales.
Refugee Week (June 18-26th) is an annual event and this year coincides with Wrexham’s Year of Culture. The week will be launched in North Wales’ major shopping centre, Eagles Meadow, the main sponsor for the Year of Culture.
From the pounding drums of Batala Bangor to African, Portuguese and Polish music, to football and a `Taste The World` lunch. Even football is on the menu according to one of the team, Mark Hill Reynolds, who also volunteers at Wrexham Refugee and Asylum Seekers Support Group.
Mark said: “Wrexham is well known for the welcome it gives to people from all over the world. From the Polish community which developed out of the hospital in Penley to the newer arrivals fleeing persecution in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Wrexham has always stepped up to the mark and made them welcome.
“Refugee Week is an annual event lead by the Welsh Refugee Council and is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution made by refugees to life in the UK. It will also give refugees and asylum seekers the opportunity to meet members of their local community and share their stories and experiences. The chance to make friends is often uppermost in the list of requirements for a new arrival in Wrexham.
“Wrexham is a Home Office dispersal area. When someone claims asylum, they are ‘dispersed’ to privately owned accommodation in one of the ‘Dispersal Areas’. The people who arrive here have no choice in the matter.
“One client recently commented ‘I’m glad they didn’t send me to London, I think I would have been very unhappy. The people of Wrexham are so nice and so friendly that I want to live here if I am allowed to stay in the UK’.
“Once someone is granted refugee status, they have the same difficulties with accommodation and employment as any other member of the community. In difficult economic times, the problems can be felt more acutely due to the fact that many Refugees have no family or friends in the area to which they have been dispersed.
“Contrary to popular belief, there are only around 60 asylum seekers in the Wrexham area. The number of refugees is more difficult to estimate, as some have moved to Wrexham in order to find jobs, some are here to be reunited with family and, of course, the members of the Armed Services from all over the world, who found themselves unable to return home after fighting for Britain in WWII.”
Refugee Week starts on Saturday June 18 , with live acts in Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre between 12 and 4pm.
The Big Beat are four young men who have performed an eclectic mix of rock, soul, pop and blues at venues such as Murrayfield Stadium Edinburgh, Old Trafford, the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff; Birmingham NEC, Earl’s Court, London and The Cavern, Liverpool, over the past decade, as well as Turkey, Canada, Germany, Holland and Milan. They even appeared at the Tsunami Fundraiser 2005 with musical legends like Eric Clapton and Jools Holland.
Batala Bangor have evolved from Samba Bangor Community Music, which was formed in 1995 to promote the spirit of carnival and its associated arts in North Wales, with percussion based music. Its inspiration comes from the songs, rhythms and culture of Brazil and the Latin world. They will be marching through Wrexham and ending up at Eagles Meadow.
Acoustic Acts (local musicians – TBA) will augment the show, along with youth based art workshops provided by Nando`s Restaurant (who are also
sponsoring the event).
Later on the Saturday evening, at L`etage Café Bar on Abbot St, London Salsa/Calypso band Trench City will be playing, supported by Tacsi Criw, a four piece bilingual Hip Hop / Reggae band from Anglesey, Djs are Urban Fusion form Calon Fm.
On Monday June 20th, a ‘Taste of the World’ lunch at The Memorial Hall, which will give everyone the chance to sample foods from around the world. This starts at 12 midday.
An opportunity to take the Citizenship Test at Wrexham library will be held on the Tuesday.
A football tournament will take place at Glyndwr University on the Wednesday and activities for children not interested in football, will be available free of charge.
A night of African, Portuguese and other World music will be held at L’Etage Café Bar on Abbot St, on Thursday June 23rd.
Friday 24 June, again at L’Etage, New Wave Ska band Skambomambo from Poland will be providing live music, with support from The Ready Get Set, a one man explosion of punk energy from Wrexham. Babyfather Sound System (traditional Trinidadian/Jamaican DJ and MC combo) will keep the dancing going into the early hours.
Saturday 25 June also brings the Future Fresh Crew ( Calon FM ) dj at the bar next to L etage abbot street Wrexham which start at 8pm and goes on to the early hours with a selection of there tunes from the radio show they host every Thursday on Calon Fm.
Another football tournament will be held at Ellesmere Port on Saturday June 25th.
Ben DavisEmail: email@example.com
Ben is the founder and main writer for wrexhammusic.co.uk.