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Asylum seekers enjoy activities in Thatcham Baptist Church event



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Asylum seekers from a hotel in Thatcham got out into the community yesterday (Saturday) for some games, food and socialisation.

Those staying at the Regency Park Hotel and some from a hotel in Padworth had a chilled Saturday afternoon playing indoor games at Thatcham Baptist Church on April 23.

Deacon Rob Sneddon, who had the “initial vision” of hosting a welcoming event, said: “It was really great to get to know some of our new neighbours from overseas and to welcome them to Thatcham and our mission is to share the love of Jesus and this was a very practical way of doing this.

There was a variety of games on offer. Picture by Carol Collis
There was a variety of games on offer. Picture by Carol Collis

“Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and it was good to start to build relationships in this way.

“We hope to do more welcoming activities in the coming months.”

The asylum seekers, from Iran and El Salvador, played table tennis, jenga and snooker, as well as board games like chess.

The women had their nails painted. Picture by Carol Collis
The women had their nails painted. Picture by Carol Collis

There were opportunities for them to get their nails painted in a pamper session, do some mindfulness colouring and snack on the provided food and drink.

The Church was aware of the arrival of asylum seekers at selected West Berkshire hotels early on and liaised with West Berkshire Action for Refugees and Café Calais in the bid to get in contact with the asylum seekers and host them for these activities.

Reverend David Taylor said: “We are absolute delighted to welcome our asylum seeker friends into our community in Thatcham and to share the love of Christ with them.”

The 15 asylum seekers that attended said they enjoyed the event and were keen to do some of their own cooking- something the church are hoping to facilitate for a future event.

Snacks were available and some said they'd like to come and do some cooking of meals from their respective cultures. Picture by: Carol Collis
Snacks were available and some said they'd like to come and do some cooking of meals from their respective cultures. Picture by: Carol Collis

Deacon and school teacher Carol Collis said: “We initially thought we would cook them a meal but they’re really missing their own food.

“Quite a few of the Iranians had been coming to things at the Church already so we know some of them, a bit, from services, groups and things at the Church.

“It was really lovely to talk to them all and get to know them as individuals, a lot of them are quite young people they have got their own hopes and dreams.”

The event at Thatcham Baptist Church was held on Saturday 23. Picture by Carol Collis
The event at Thatcham Baptist Church was held on Saturday 23. Picture by Carol Collis
A Spanish translator was in attendance to help with communication between Church members and asylum seekers. Picture by: Carol Collis
A Spanish translator was in attendance to help with communication between Church members and asylum seekers. Picture by: Carol Collis
Some asylum seekers used Google Translate to talk to the organisers. Picture by: Carol Collis
Some asylum seekers used Google Translate to talk to the organisers. Picture by: Carol Collis

West Berkshire Action for Refugees said it regularly updates its Facebook page with items that are needed for the refugees as well as other forms of required assistance.



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