By Tracy Little
Dales residents and visitors from widely different backgrounds got together in May to enjoy a walk of around seven miles through the Swaledale countryside.
2 Dales Action for Refugees, an informal group who arrange support and events to bring together local people with asylum seekers and refugees from Teesside, organised the walk, made up packed lunches in advance and served a traditional Yorkshire tea afterwards in Low Row Institute.
Led by two of the Yorkshire Dales National Park rangers, the group of more than 40 walkers included 24 guests, of whom the majority originated from Tunisia and the Middle East and included several family groups and teenagers.
Most were new to the area and, as well as the scenery, were particularly delighted by the chance to walk the three dogs accompanying the party.
One Iranian lady summed up perfectly the difference the day had made in her life: “The best thing in that day for me was chatting with very kind hearted English people. When you’re in this situation, I mean when you’re asylum seeker or refugee, the best thing for changing your mood is seeing new places besides meeting very kind English people that respect to you a lot and give you this feel that you’re not alone and strange in this country.”
The walk was the latest in a number of events organised in conjunction with the Methodist Asylum Project, Middlesbrough (MAP), a registered charity which provides practical support and social and educational opportunities for asylum-seekers and refugees in Teesside.
Activities are publicised in the local press but anyone interested in getting involved is invited to contact Joan Graveson 01748-886470, email: Giovanj@swaledale.org