"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.


Wiping wet wipes with wet things????

Tuesday 15th January

9 a.m Steve and Della take a hired van to Liverpool to collect 8000 packs of wet wipes which actually did “fall off the back of a lorry”

1.30 pm Steve and Della arrive back and a DRS team empties the van

Thursday 17th Jan

About 25 DRS volunteers form two “productions lines” to clean, dry and box up the wet wipes ready for delivery to Calais, Dunkirk, Greece or Syria.

As a new volunteer commented, “Thanks for today-it's such an amazing and inspiring project “


Help please!

You may know that we were kindly given a grant last year by Foundation Derbyshire

This enabled us to pay our rent at Northcliffe House and thereby grow as a charity and as a community. 
We now need to re-apply for this year and would welcome YOUR ideas! The questions we have to reply to are:

1.What difference has your project made to your group?

2.What difference has your project made to the wider community?

3.Please provide 3 quotes from beneficiaries of your group including how this grant has helped them

4.What is the total number of people who benefited from this project ?

5. If you were to do this project again what would you do differently?

Please send/give written responses to Steve or Julie. Thanks!!


DRS Spending Update

Over the last year we’ve done lots of fundraising events to cover our costs – car boot sales, music events, sporting events and we’ve had loads of generous supporters. We’ve raised so much money, we’ve got more than we need to cover our running costs and our trips to France to deliver aid. As a charity, it’s our duty to make sure that any donations we received are spent on meeting our charity aims and not left to accrue in a bank account.

With that in mind, we had a meeting this Thursday to discuss what to do with our cash surplus of £3300! Historically, we have often responded to emergency situations and shout outs for help from many of the other refugee organisations we have worked with. So it was decided that we’d split our money between some of those organisations, as well as a few others led by requests from our volunteers.

So, it was decided, with suggestions and involvement from many of our volunteers, to split the money 6 ways between these great causes…

Paris Refugee Ground support – sleeping bag appeal 
Check out this brilliant short video that explains what they’re doing: https://www.facebook.com/rastplatz/videos/587949721618012/
£550 should buy about 60 sleeping bags

Refugee Community Kitchen 
An organization many of our volunteers have been involved with, who have been serving hot, nourishing meals to refugees since December 2015. 

The Refugee Women’s Centre, supporting women, families and minors around Dunkirk, Calais and Grande Synthe.
Another organization that DRS knows well and has worked with on projects in the past.

The next three projects we will be supporting via our friends at Muslims In Need, who work tirelessly to support people all over the world in areas of conflict, such as Syria, Yemen and Bangladesh.

Yemen Food Parcels appeal 
£550 will buy around 18 food parcels, which will each last a family in need for a whole month!

Food, shelter & medical assistance for Rohingya

Syria: orphan village 

All of these projects and causes are through organisations that are well known to DRS. We can trust that the money we send will be spent exactly where it’s meant to be – helping the people who are most in need.

We just want to also say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has donated, supported, sorted and basically helped DRS in any way in the last 12 months. We have now been doing this for THREE YEARS and we are continuing to grow and support refugees both overseas and at home and it’s a wonderful thing. Thank you ☺