DRS at International Women's Day Fair, Derby 2019

by Rachel Murray

DRS had a wonderful day out at the Arboretum in Derby yesterday. The IWD celebrations brought together so many different voluntary groups, organisations, performers and social change advocates. 
It was an inspiring day with plenty of information shared and gathered, networking done and many new people being made aware of DRS and all that we do. 
Katy painted a sea of faces, Zak provided much appreciated pastries and knitted hats found new homes ( or should I say, heads). It was a joy to be amongst so many other people who are all working hard to make positive changes in this world.


Meet the Volunteers!

One of the very many lovely things about volunteering with DRS is that our volunteers come from EVERYWHERE! Just yesterday there were volunteers from the Sudan, from Libya, Iran, Italy, Greece, Poland and the U.K. People from seven different countries sorting donations, washing wet wipe packs, playing I-Spy and an international game of football to finish off the morning!

It’s time to meet some of these volunteers individually, starting with Kotchy!

Kotchy is from the Sudan. He loves music, having fun and being happy!


Help Refugees Sleeping Bag Campaign

DRS are delighted to be supporting this campaign! Please help us to collect as many sleeping bags as possible and bring them to St Anne's or ask us to arrange collection. THANK YOU💜💜💜💜


🚛 We're organising a sleeping bag collection for Calais in 7 days! 🚛

If you have 3,000 sleeping bags and 5,000 blankets in your loft (or even just one or two)... take them to your local drop-off point before the 26th!

We're working with Emmaus Lambeth to send a lorry to all drop-off points in in London, and then the rest of the UK in the coming weeks. https://helprefugees.org/news/sleeping-bags-needed-calais/

If you have a spare sleeping bag or blanket, visit the link in our bio. If you don't, can you organise a collection or buy one from our #ChooseLovestore?

Please like, comment and share. The more the message gets out, the more chance we have of keeping everyone sleeping rough in Calais warm through winter!

Thank you for all your love and support! ❤️


"Pizza Shop Heroes" at Derby Theatre

On 2nd February lots of volunteers from Derby Refugee Advice Centre and from Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity were lucky enough to see a production of Pizza Shop Heroes by Phosphoros Theatre Company. In their own words, this company…

“ is a London based company that makes political performance starring refugee and asylum-seeking actors. We use autobiographical performance to shine a light on important untold stories. Our work is collaborative, stripped back and rooted in a desire to offer alternative perspectives. “

Everyone who saw the play was captivated by the powerful story telling and the play struck a chord with many of the refugees and asylum seekers who had made similar journeys as those portrayed.

Phosphoros Theatre was set up by a Derby base writer, Dawn Harrison, after she met refugees and asylum seekers in 2015. For the full story, please see the photo.

Pizza Shop Heroes in on in Nottingham on the 18th and 19th June



Dangerous driving...by a minor!!

Health and Safety Report on DRS 31.1.19
FIVE serious contraventions of H&S guidelines were identified this morning:
- dangerous driving by a minor
- washing without appropriate gloves 
- wildlife (bear) allowed to roam freely
- an attempt to restrain a young person by trapping them 
and then laughing at them
- people working hard without taking breaks

A new volunteer said this morning, "I feel like I've come home". That's exactly it. DRS IS a home from home. Thank you soooo much to everyone who helps make this happen!


URGENT: DRS Friend and volunteer Brendan Woodhouse needs our help

From BT news

‘Imprisoned’ British migrant rescuers plead for Foreign Secretary’s help

Four British rescuers stranded off Sicily while facing an investigation for supposedly assisting illegal migration have called on the Foreign Secretary to intervene to free them and the 47 people they saved from the sea.

The crew of Sea-Watch 3 rescued the desperate men and boys from the Mediterranean as their inflatable vessel was losing air, and were allowed to shelter offshore from Syracuse, Sicily, from storms.

But they said they have been prevented from leaving the boat, or local waters, while they are being investigated after a call from Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini.

The right-wing leader has refused to let private rescue boats enter the country’s ports, arguing they encourage human traffickers on the Mediterranean.

Father-of-two Brendan Woodhouse, from near Matlock in Derbyshire, is among the British crew members.

He spoke of being “imprisoned around Sicily” as he called for Jeremy Hunt’s help.

“We are not allowed to land, nor are we allowed to leave, nor is the ship allowed to sail away,” the firefighter told the Press Association.

“We are being threatened with a criminal investigation for saving people’s lives at sea.”

He continued: “We would ask Jeremy Hunt to apply some pressure on the Italian authorities to accept 47 people on board and allow the crew to leave.

“And also to take a share of the responsibility of some of these people that we have rescued.”

Mr Woodhouse, a 42-year-old former British Army reservist, said he missed his scheduled flight on Monday ahead of his return to work at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Mr Salvini has accused the captain and crew of “a crime and a clear desire to use these immigrants in a political battle” and said evidence will be handed to judicial authorities.

“The interior minister is gathering elements to evaluate whether to press charges against the entire Sea-Watch crew for favouring illegal immigration,” the ministry reportedly added.

The crew from the humanitarian aid vessel said they rescued the migrants, including 15 unaccompanied minors, on January 19 after they were spotted off Libya by a passing plane.

Sea-Watch 3 said they were not granted permission to land by Malta before the Italian coast guard said on Friday they could shelter in its waters from a storm.

Head of mission Kim Heaton-Heather, 37, originally from Brighton, also called on Mr Hunt to extend his support and end their ordeal.

He said: “If he had seen people lying upside down in the water outside the ship, if he had heard people talk about torture and seeing family members killed and heard stories about all the people drowning, I don’t think any human being could turn their back on this situation.

“Jeremy Hunt and every other politician that can in some way affect this situation has a moral responsibility to give their intervention and help us.”

Also on the vessel are chief engineer Jon Stone, a 32-year-old former Navy serviceman from Lincoln, and bosun Dan Bebawi, 39, formally a car mechanic in Nottingham.

The situation is becoming dire on board, with two of their three portable toilets full up and provisions running low.

Sicilians have offered their support and three United Nations agencies have appealed to Italy to allow the migrants off the ship.

And while the mayors of Naples and Palermo have offered their ports, the jurisdiction lies with national authorities.

“Every day that we are held here is another day we are not able to search and rescue people. Every day we are not there, people are dying,” Mr Heaton-Heather said.


Please sign the petition to open the ports!



DRS welcomes Derby War and Refugee Forum

Last night DRS were delighted to welcome Derby War and Refugee Forum to St Anne's for informative talks by Janet FullerSteve Cooke and Bob Davies about various aspects of the refugee crisis and the work they do to support refugees and asylum seekers. The feedback has been really positive and several members of the audience expressed an interest in getting further involved with DRS.

Thanks to Moyra Jean, as ever an attentive "domestic backdrop," and to everyone who who organised and attended.