People seeking asylum and refuge from 14 countries, from some of the worst places in the world, are finding safety and welcome in various communities in Northumberland.

 A local voluntary group, Northumberland County of Sanctuary (NCOS) is working with the British Red Cross and local Churches to provide a range of support with activities based in Ashington.  The Civic Head of Ashington, Cllr. Marjorie Chambers went along to present a small grant, from the Town Council, towards their activities. 

Cllr. Chambers says ‘It is encouraging to see volunteers from (NCOS) providing such practical help and support to vulnerable people who have come to live in Ashington for a number of reasons. It is also heartening that groups in the town are welcoming the refugees and asylum seekers into their activities and making them feel part of our community for however long they may live in the town’.

Hilton Dawson Chair of NCOS says ‘People were very pleased to welcome Cllr Chambers to our meeting. They are happy living in Ashington as well as in other communities in Northumberland and really appreciate the warmth and kindness of local people. Almost 50% of the people we help are children, many of whom are already doing well in local schools and in local sports teams and some of their parents are working for local charities and community schemes while they wait for decisions on their future. They have come through a lot and are still facing uncertainty. However they look after each other, learn English and use their own skills, particularly language skills, to help people help them. It’s a group full of resilience, humour and humanity. We are very grateful to Marjorie for her own personal interest in the project as well as for the support of Ashington Town Council. Their grant will support the work of our Women’s Group over the next year, it is very helpful and much appreciated'.

In the photograph are people from Northumberland County of Sanctuary, Cllr. Marjorie Chambers and members of Ashington’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, who are also support the group’s work.

For more information on the work of Northumberland County of Sanctuary email: northumbriapeople@gmail.com