Eat & Greet – a fundraiser

We are fundraising on behalf of Leros Solidarity Network. We have a super exciting community lunch event planned at The Baptist Church in Kings Heath on Saturday 20th August, 12-5. 

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It will be a super exciting foodie experience, with contributions from local restaurants and suppliers including Peel & Stone, Yorks, Sarah’s Feisty Flavours, Damascena, The Real Junk Food Project and The Dark Horse to name a few! This is sure to be a super yummy event! We’d also love you to bring a dish to share!

We also have a cracking line up of music/entertainment including David Benjamin Blower, The Swing Era, Adam Rutherford Dance, Andrew Souter and more!

And for your littles we have the opportunity to join in a taster Music Shakers session, make your own lion mask, make and write a postcard and even more exciting crafty fun from the makers of the Handmade Markets.

There will be a raffle too with gifts from PlayStation, Cosy Club, Connolly’s Wines, 40 St Pauls, The Vegan Grindhouse and more…

How do I get a ticket? 

Make sure you join the event on facebook…https://www.facebook.com/events/1737804246496516/?ti=icl

Then purchase your tickets here: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/363530

Tickets:
Adult: £5
Children over 5: £2
Under 5s: FREE

As well as buying a ticket for yourself you can also purchase one (or more!) for a refugee living in the city.

We would love it if you could prepurchase your ticket before the event as this will help give us an idea of numbers for catering.

Want to volunteer?

We are looking for helpers! Want to get stuck in a help out? Please complete the form via this link…any help is so greatly received! http://goo.gl/forms/QUSQhkOQtEhzeqd63

We really excited!! We hope to see you there

KHAR

KHAR UPDATE: Volunteers needed and Leros Solidarity Network

Hello everyone!

As promised we have a super update for you.

The planning group met a couple of weeks back and took some time to review the last 6 months since we started our first collection in September 2015. Following the meeting we’ve been able to focus in on the following:

  • FUNDRAISING: On behalf of small grassroots charities based in Europe working directly with refugees.
  • AWARENSS RAISING & ADVOCACY: we want to raise awareness of the current situation both across Europe and in our city, Birmingham. We want to build partnerships with local organisations and charities to help support befriending schemes and other initiatives. We want to work with schools and other local community groups to help raise awareness.
  • DOMESTIC COLLECTIONS: we want to support the work of St Chads Sanctuary and Brushstrokes, Sandwell to encourage donations of much needed clothing, toiletries, toys etc

So what’s happening now?

Good question. Over the next few months we have some fundraising events planned already.

There was a  gig at The Sun at The Station taking place on 30th April (https://www.facebook.com/events/1099117860152389/) and they raised £240!

As part of Refugee Week we are also planning a big summer fundraiser on Saturday 25th June at the New Baptist Church (opposite Asda). Our first planning meeting is Wednesday 11 May 6.30pm (venue tbc). If You want to help us plan this event please come along – we need all hands on deck.

And we have been working with some local schools to support their fundraising activities.

We would like to work with local playgroups to collect soft toys and other children/baby items for Brushstrokes. They have a particular need for baby packs (list will be provided).

How can I help?

Planning team / event volunteers

Would you like to help us with the summer fundraiser event on 25th June? We will need help planning the event, and setting up and making it happen on the day.

Our first planning meeting is Wednesday 11 May 6.30pm (venue tbc). If you want to help us plan this event please come along – we need all hands on deck.

Do you have any skills you would like to offer, baking, sewing, musicianship that you think people would pay to see/have! If so let us know!

Volunteer drivers / vans

Do you have access to a car / van and are happy to collect and deliver donations to Brushstrokes Project in Sandwell, B66 3DU (it’s about a 20-25 minute journey)?

We we are collecting soft toys and items for children and families, via a number of a Kings Heath playgroups.

Can you help? Do you have a place to store items until they can be collected and delivered?

Lobbying / Awareness Raising

Can you write to your local MP? Share information on your social media (Facebook, Twitter)?

Are you a school or community / sport / social group? Do you belong to a group who you think would be up for some fundraising? If so, please get in touch – we’d love to work together.

Would you like to train as a befriender / volunteer? 

We are working with Brushstrokes, Sandwell to deliver workshops which cover Asylum and Refugee Issues and Befriending training.

The training will be delivered at The New Baptist Church (opposite Asda). If you are interesting in taking part, please contact Rosie Gunn (via the Facebook group). The course will likely take place over 6-8 weeks (Date / time TBC) and there will be a small fee to cover costs / room hire.

For more information on Brushstrokes and their befriending scheme visit their website here: http://www.brushstrokessandwell.org.uk They are based in Sandwell but work in Birmingham (particularly in South Birmingham).

Thank you for reading to the end – I know that was epic!  And thank you for your continued support. If you’ve not volunteered before and are interested again please please do make contact! And if you have done before – please come and help us again! It makes a huge difference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

30.04 The Bourgeois Four – fundraiser gig

Hello again folks

We’ve been a bit quiet these past few months. We’ve been taking the time to review on all the activity we’ve been involved in since we set the group up in September. It’s been quite a learning curve and we are now looking at how we can best keep the momentum of such an active community of local people and do the best we can for refugees around Europe and in our fair city of Birmingham. More of that in an update to follow very soon.

In the meantime, we have more musical treats from The Bourgeois Four who are very kindly donating the proceeds of their next gig to KHAR.  The gig is on 30th April at The Sun at the Station and tickets are a snip at £5! You will receive entry to the gig which features live sets from The Bourgeois Four, The Day Ends (Miss Halliwell) and more tbc – and you will also receive a link to download The Bourgeois Four’s debut album, A Ninth Path, ahead of its official release on Speech Fewapy Records.

You can join the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1099117860152389/

Or to buy tickets directly visit here: https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Aninthpath

Action Station #1

On Saturday 6 February DIE DAS DER and Kings Heath Action for Refugees held Action Station, a day of live music at The Sun at the Station.

What a fantastic event! We raised a whopping £581.06!

A huge THANK YOU to everyone involved in Action Station:

* All the staff at The Sun at the Station
* Sound Engineer, Joe French
* All the musicians who played: Andrew Souter, Pete Heywood, David Leach, Tom Peel’s Music, Simon Gregory and band, Ghosts of Dead Airplanes, Pretty Grim, SWOOMPTHEENG
* Steve Bridgeman on the door
* John Mostyn and all involved in the performance of “You’re Not Alone”
* Raffle prize donors
* Lisa from Kinmos Centre for lending us the donation buckets

and everyone who came along to the event to support KHAR!

Here’s some photos!

A bucket.

Pete Heywood / David Leach / Tom Peel (sadly I have no photos from the second part of the evening but more videos etc are on our Twitter @khaction.

A raffle to behold. Congratulations to the lucky winners!

We have a planning meeting over the next couple of weeks – will keep you in the loop on the Facebook group – please let us know if you’d like to help and be part of the group – we need lots of hands!

Thanks again x

 

Colouring books for Christmas Appeal

Colouring Books for Christmas

Are you able to collect colouring books for refugee children in Leros? These children are a long way from home, without any of their things or toys to play with, so we would like to send them something fun to do to brighten their day.

We are collecting for United Aid Solidarity (Aid Leros). Off the coast of Turkey, Leros is the smallest of the Greek Islands. Its population is just 8,500 and for many years they have received a number of refugees which has been manageable for the local group of volunteers. This year however, has seen an influx of up to 2,000 refugees using the island as a transit camp in a week, and this is no longer manageable.

United Aid Solidarity (Aid Leros) works on the ground and use funds for food and essential items for refugees.

What Can yoU do to help?

If you are part of a playgroup or social group or perhaps there’s a group of you at work who would like to join up – you can help!

  • We are looking for new colouring books and colouring pens/pencils (these are readily available in multipacks from poundland)
  • Ask children from your group to draw pictures of support, friendship and love to the refugee children.

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Package them up and send to:

Hannah Bjork Kontou
Agia Marina Leros
85400 Dodecanese
Greece

Postage is currently £14 per 2kg parcel via Royal Mail. If you are wanting to send larger parcels, courier service http://www.teahousetransport.com have been recommended by United Aid Solidarity as being the most reasonable way of doing so.If you are looking for ways to cover the postage of your package, here are a couple of fundraising ideas:

If you are unable to cover postage or fundraise for it, do let us know and we can investigate further ways of getting your items shipped.

This appeal is in partnership with Bearwood Action for Refugees. 

You did it!

Thank you to everyone who donated items and/or money and their time to sort and help pack. It’s been quite a task but an absolute pleasure…

37 boxes on 2 pallets with 400+ toiletries and winter bags and were collected by the DHL aid relief team on Monday 23rd November. The pallets left that Friday and will arrive at their Athens depot by Thurs 3rd December, with delivery to Kos Kindness either by the weekend or early the next week by the 5-6th December.

The very lovely people at Kos Kindness are ready to take our delivery and distribute to refugees arriving on the island.

What now?

We will be taking a short break over Christmas until we have access to the Church’s storage again. This will give plenty of time for everyone to collect together unwanted Christmas gifts! I’m joking a but obviously but it does give us a longer lead in time to work with the charity to collect items they really need.

In the meantime we’ll be announcing  some fundraising and awareness-raising ideas we’ve been working on with our friends Bearwood Action for Refugees, so do keep an eye out for more information on that to follow over the next week or so.

Finally, another MASSIVE and heartfelt thank you.

Collection update: items needed


Thank you for all your wonderful donations over the past couple of weeks. A small group of us did a quick ‘stock check’ this afternoon – so we now know what we need more of, and what we’d really appreciate donations of this week before the deadline on Saturday 21st November.

What do we still need?

We still need more items from the list below but we are in particular need of:

  • Cereal bars – within date. You can get 5 for £1 in Morrisons at the moment – here (of course other supermarkets are available!) 
  • Rain ponchos – either “mac in bag” types like these or the fold up ones like these for adults, or these for children. 
  • Wind up torches – you can buy these here and there’s plenty more on Amazon and similar websites. They need to be handheld to fit into the bags.
imageAheartfelt plea…

The generosity and compassion shown by people in this group has been totally wonderful and so massively appreciated. This is just a plea to please please please donate ONLY what is on the list. Tents, coats and other items being donated will be useful to refugees in these areas no doubt – however we don’t have the resources to send these items at the moment.

Please hold on to them instead until we can find ways of getting them where they need to go. We are on the lookout for containers in the area heading out – please let us know if you find anything too.

We do not have huge storage facilities at the church so items not on the list will be donated to St Chads Sanctuary or local charity shops on Kings Heath High Street.

Everyone has been so generous giving up their time to help sort and pack donations – please help us by donating only what is on the list and clearly sorting and marking your donations. 

Thank you.

The Big Sew: 18th November, 7-9pm

The Big Sew is back and it’s all bags, bags, bags! Please join us if you can on 18th November, 7-9pm at Veg Out Cafe on Poplar Road. 

Through The Big Sew  we have already made (rather a lot of!) amazing sturdy and beautiful bags that we have filled with toiletries. For the next batch of important winter items we will be making some bigger bags and adding a waterproof lining.

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Even if you don’t have any sewing experience or are a dab hand with the sewing machine – all are welcome, please consider helping us. These bags will continue to be used long after its contents have, so they are a great donations. And all we need is your time!

If you are able please bring a sewing machine and any material you have spare and happy to donate.

There will be refreshments available to purchase on the evening.

Please RSVP at the event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1503884556576621/

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oh no, i can’t attend!

Don’t worry! We have cut and pressed a batch of bags ready to be sewn and they are available in baskets from the

  • Jubilatte Cafe, The New Baptist Church (80 High Street).
  • Loco Lounge 
  • Kitchen Garden Cafe 

And you can take with you to sew in the comfort of your own home!

And  you can download the pattern below. Make sure you use an A3-sized piece of material  to cut your pattern.

Bag pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All you need to do is drop them off at the New Baptist Church (opposite Asda), with any other donations or bring with you on 22nd November for our sorting  and packing day.

Happy sewing!

Useful information and signposting


We thought a page detailing relevant information about local provision would be useful. Please consider donating or volunteering to these groups.

Facebook Groups set up by volunteers

A number of volunteer groups collecting and donating aid have been set up in the Birmingham area:

Key organisations to donate itemS to

{This information has been provided by The Birch Network.}

St Chad’s Sanctuary // http://www.stchadssanctuary.com                     Since Kings Heath Collects for Refugee Crisis started collecting we have been donating surplus items to St Chads Sanctuary. They are extremely grateful for donations, but at the moment they are desperate for men’s clothing, particularly in smaller sizes.

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Brushstrokes Sandwell // http://www.brushstrokessandwell.org.uk       Brushstrokes mission is to support vulnerable groups including newcomers to the UK and support their integration. They work with asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants in Smethwick and West Birmingham. The services they provide include:  ESOL teaching from pre-entry to Level One taught by volunteers and college tutors. Practical resources to those in need including food, clothes, household items and baby packs and equipment.  A befriending service to newcomers including home visits to people who are

Karis Neighbour Scheme http://www.karisneighbourscheme.org
Karis is a small community charity providing practical support, friendship and advocacy to people in need in the Ladywood area of Birmingham, particularly seeking to reach out to people who are isolated and marginalised. They have developed a range of work supporting asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants. Services include informal ESOL classes, a Welcome group offering social activities particularly aimed at women and families, and home visits to offer further befriending along with practical support including linking to the local foodbank. A baby bank provides essentials such as pushchairs /cots /moses baskets for newborn babies in families who are in crisis.

Local support organisations

There are a range of organisations providing support to Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Birmingham and surrounding areas.

They include funded charities, faith groups and a number of organisations solely supported by voluntary effort. This is not an exhaustive list.

ASIRT – Asylum Support and Immigration Resource Team // http://www.asirt.org.uk
ASIRT is a charitable organisation based in Birmingham registered with OISC (Office of
Immigration Services Commissioner) to provide advocacy, advice and legal representation to asylum seekers and other undocumented migrants in the West Midlands who would otherwise be unable to access such representation due to their limited financial resources.

Birch Community Hosting Network // http://www.birchnetwork.org
BIRCH is a small, volunteer led charity working across Birmingham to support vulnerable refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.

British Red Cross // http://www.redcross.org.uk
The Red Cross Mission is to support people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are, including asylum seekers and refugees. The West Midlands Office provides services for asylum seekers and refugees in Birmingham, Coventry and Stoke on Trent

Freedom from Torture // http://www.freedomfromtorture.org/about/15/5252
Freedom from Torture is a national charity providing direct clinical services to survivors of torture 
who arrive in the UK, as well as striving to protect and promote their rights. 
At their West Midlands Centre in Birmingham, they provide psychological therapies as well as medical, legal and welfare support to survivors of torture. The types of therapy on offer are diverse and the charity works with adult survivors as well as operating a specialist Children, Young People and Families (CYPF) service.

Birmingham – City of Sanctuary // http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/birmingham
A movement of local people who are working to create a culture of welcome and hospitality to those who arrive here seeking sanctuary.

Freshwinds // http://www.freshwinds.org.uk   Freshwinds is a Birmingham charity whose mission is to provide a person centred, fully integrated model of care and support, to individuals with life threatening and life limiting illnesses and those experiencing social exclusion, within a caring, safe
and secure environment, exploring their circumstances and emotions to find a true resolution to their situation. They provide some free immigration and nationality support. They provide training and employability support as well as volunteering opportunities in health and social care and other fields. They have a support programme for destitute migrants who are HIV positive which includes support with housing issues, health and crisis interventions.

Hope Projects // http://www.hope-projects.org.uk
The Hope projects work to help destitute asylum-seekers and other new migrants barred from public funds in the West Midlands. Support includes m funding, emergency accommodation, counselling and casework support for asylum-seeker and refugee women, therapeutic and recreational projects.

Lifeline Options // http://www.lifelineoptions.org.uk
Lifeline options is a Community Interest Company based in Birmingham registered with OISC (Office of Immigration Services Commissioner) to provide free legal advice/assistance to asylum.

Oasis Church Welcome the Nations Project 
Oasis Church in Edgbaston is close to the hostel in Stone Road used to house newly arrived asylum seekers before they are dispersed around the region. Members of the church realised how isolated and unwelcome people felt when they first arrived there. Oasis offers a meal and a welcome every Thursday evening. They have around 100 people from many different nations each week. After the meal there is a time of worship with prayers for justice.

Piers Road New Communities Centre Association 
                                                             Piers Road serves refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable communities. Their mission is to relieve suffering, loneliness, distress, educational disadvantage and other life challenging issues. 
The Association works with 23 different refugee community groups based in the building. They all have access to the building seven days a week with its office space and IT facilities. Activities include family support and community and other social events. They also provide courses on ESOL, diet and other health issues, job search, literacy and benefits.

Red Sun Organisation // http://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/services/3351_red_sun_organisation
Red Sun is a Birmingham based organisation whose aim is to promote and improve the welfare of the Middle Eastern Communities and the Kurdish community in particular. Red Sun is run by volunteers who provide information, advice and advocacy to relieve poverty and improve quality of life. They support the process of integration through the provision of services and activities including educational programmes.

Refugee Action // http://www.refugee-action.org.uk
Refugee Action is a national charity with offices in Birmingham serving the West MIdlands. In Birmingham they work with refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants. Choices offers advice to people without leave to remain who are considering voluntary return (including exploring alternatives to return). Where appropriate, they help people to make a dignified and sustainable return to their country of origin using the Home Office’s Assisted Voluntary Return programme.

Restore // http://www.restore-uk.org
Restore is a project of Birmingham Churches Together which aims to welcome, include and assist the integration of refugees and those seeking sanctuary from persecution. It works to achieve its mission through befriending, social activities, equipping refugees for work, advocacy and awareness-raising. The befriending scheme brings refugee and host communities together. It involves the matching of volunteers with asylum seekers to provide one-to-one support.

Solihull Churches Asylum Seeker Support Group
Solihull Welcome is a drop in Centre close to the Home Office Reporting Centre in Solihull which serves the West Midlands. They are open on Wednesdays and Fridays offering free refreshments to people who are signing at the Reporting Centre. Everyone is welcome regardless of religion or ethnicity. They also provide toys for children, clothes and food parcels to people who are destitute. The Centre is run by volunteers who strive to provide a friendly and stress free atmosphere and an opportunity to talk for those who want to. They sign-post people to other organisations where further help and advice may be obtained.

Advocacy

Birmingham – City of Sanctuary // http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/birmingham
A movement of local people who are
working to create a culture of welcome and hospitality to those who
arrive here seeking sanctuary.

We hope Kings Heath Collects will be able to make futher links to the above groups to look at what we can offer to refugees and asylum seskers in Birmingham,  including a Befriending Collective. If you’d like to be involved in this, or have an advice or comments, please leave a comment or email kingsheathcollects@outlook.com. 

Thank you. 

Donations needed: emergency bags

We are collecting again! 

Everyone who has donated and volunteered their time to this group – it has been overwhelming and amazing so far, but we’d really like to keep going!

What are you collecting?

We are continuing to focus efforts on filling The Big Sew‘s handmade drawstring bags. These bags are durable and reusable, so hopefully will be of use to its new owner long after the contents have been used.

We have a very specific list. Please see the flyer below for details.

  • Please help us by only donating these items.
  • All the items will need to fit in one drawstring bag per person, so please do consider the sizes! If in any doubt check by posting on the Facebook group.
  • We will only have a few hours to sort and pack the bags before they will be collected by DHL the following week.
  • Please help us by boxes types of items separately and clearly labelling your donation, ideally with numbers of items included. This will really help us on the day.

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I want to donate but it’s not on your list.

We understand that people would like to donate a range of different items, including clothes and tents etc however we are concentrating on specific items which can (more) easily and cheaply be sent to Greece.

We have ears to the ground to find out about other larger convoys / containers in the Birmingham area sending items that we can collect for. We have so far been pretty responsive to these as they have arisen and either posted details of the collection on the Facebook page or collected items on their behalf.

Please see also this post for more details about  organisations support refugees and asylum seekers  in the Birmingham area if you wish to donate locally.

What else can I do to help?

We are sorting and packing bags on Sunday 22 November. Please consider coming to help us. It truly makes a heap of difference having as many people to help as possible. Even if you can only spare half an hour, it really does help.  If you are able to come please join the Event page, which will help us get an idea of numbers.image

If you fancy making some drawstring bags please keep an eye out on the Facebook group or like The Big Sew‘s page for the date (s) for their next event. All abilities are welcome to take part so please don’t worry if you are a beginner.

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Thank you for reading this.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.