Being put up in a hotel may sound glamorous but the reality is far from this. Sharing a room with strangers , having no choice over food, having no where to go or things to do means that one has a lot of time to worry about the future. The 114 people seeking asylum who are in the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford are very grateful to be in the UK and are striving to improve their English and praying that their asylum claim will be successful. Beyond this, they are grateful for the help and welcome that they are given by the volunteers from Hereford City of Sanctuary . HBTSR has given £1500 to help buy essentials like a change of underclothes, language learning resources and other items identified as needed. and our Supporter Christina has arranged for secondhand clothing from college students to be made available to the Hotel residents. In addition she teaches residents maths and was able to help identify the need for occasional trips out to help with learning about Britain and help with integration. Christina hoped to be able to borrow and drive a minibus for these trips but Storm Babet had other ideas and with flooded engines, the trip took place by cars.
Hay Castle kindly offered to give free admission and use of the Clore space to people seeking sanctuary and so it was that a group of 15 men and 2 volunteers came along with Lawrence and Christina and were welcomed by Ailsa, Claire, Tim and Val. A guided tour by Bernie was much appreciated and the exhibition of refugee art was admired. The men enjoyed sitting and chatting and looking around. even the trip in the car was an adventure. Looking around Hay was popular and it was hard for some to comprehend how many bookshops there were!
The hotel had supplied packed lunches and this was supplemented by tea and coffee from the Castle and cake, biscuits and soft drinks supplied by HBTSR. A lovely day out with a warm welcome from everyone in the castle . The addition of watching sewing and a choir made this all very special. The most amazing thing was how much everyone enjoyed dressing up as kings.
Mari had kindly made paper and pens and crayons available so people could draw responses to what they’d seen. However they seemed content to draw what they wanted. Most saying they weren’t artists but some lovely pictures were drawn and taken back to Hereford.