Herts Welcomes Refugees



Migration and Refugees

News from filmmakers Catherine Henderson (writer and producer), Rosie Wyllie (animator) and Katie Seaton (composer-sound designer) 

They're at it again! There's a new animation project being created by Catherine, Rosie and Katie and you can find out more here. Last September the first film on which they worked together, Suspended, was premiered in St Andrew’s Church. It was made in conjunction with Herts Welcomes Refugees and tells the story of a man resettled in Hertfordshire under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme, a former restaurant owner who had to flee Syria to protect his family (see below).


Herts Welcomes Refugees - the movie!

Katharine Seaton, St Andrew's Church member and co-founder of Herts Welcomes Refugees, has crowd-funded to create an important film. Katharine explains:

" Three years ago, five people were drawn together. They were each trying to help their councils bring vulnerable people from refugee camps to Hertfordshire, UK. I was one of those five. We are now hundreds.

"Elsewhere a man and his family were fleeing great danger. They live in Hertfordshire now.

"As an aspiring maker of sound and music for multimedia forms, I want to use sound and animation to help us all understand what it was like for him, and how our community united to welcome him."

You can see the finished film, Suspended, here.


I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. (Matthew 25,35) 

RefugeesWelcome WinnondOn 10 June 2015, Laila Alodaat gave a talk at St Andrew's entitled Syria: The Inside Story. You can find details of this below, but it is without doutbt that the huge audience there were moved and graphically informed by Laila about what has been happening and how it came about. Following this, a meeting was held in July 2015 at St Andrew's to discuss how to take forward the scheme to resettle Syrian refugees in Hertfordshire. Since that meeting, and the escalation of what is now the biggest refugee crisis in recorded history, local people have come together and formed a group, Herts Welcomes Syrian Familes (HWSF).

You can find out much more about HWSF at their website.



Below you'll find links to many documents, charting the progress of the campaign in Hertfordshire:

Visit the Herts Welcomes Refugees website 

Update from HWSF 15 November 2015
What happened at the local Council meeting, and more...

A letter from Bishop Richard (17 September 2015)
Responding to the refugee crisis

The latest update on what's happening here
HWSF FAQ and update mid-September

The story of two babies and some people far away
Fairytale article by Katie Seaton

Stories of success so far in resettling Syrian refugees in the UK can be found here:
Stories of resettlement success

Here are some articles from The Guardian that you may find of interest:
'Life as a Syrian refugee'
'In the spirit of Kindertransport...'
'Malvern's plan to give santuary... met with barriers'

An article from The Economist:
Let them in and let them earn

Save the Children:
Donate now to the Child Refugee Crisis Appeal

Minutes from the meeting held on 28 July can be found here:
VPR Scheme Meeting 28 July 


Syria: The Inside Story

Laila-Alodaat-2On 10 June 2015, Laila Alodaat gave a moving and informative talk to an audience that packed the St Andrew's Centre. Thank you to the large, warm and concerned audience who attended. Laila said she was inspired by the number of people who care here.

Laila is a Syrian human rights lawyer specialising in international law of armed conflicts.  Her work has focussed on international accountability and the responsibility to protect civilians and marginalised groups.  She is also a trainer in international humanitarian law and has worked on several conflict situations including Syria, Libya, Iraq and Pakistan.  She currently works at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and is also Chair of the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre.

Those who attended the event on 10 June learnt how peaceful protests became the terrible civil war that exists now; about the stories of some of the ordinary people of Syria; and what the international community could or ought to be be doing alongside Syrian nationals to try and bring peace about.

Laila's presentation
We are aware that, without amplification, it was hard for some of those at the event who were at the back of the room to follow the presentation. Please click on the link below for full details of the evening, including all of Laila's main points, which have been summarised: 


Badeal - for sustainable peace in Syria
A total of £350 was raised at the end of the evening on 10 June 2015 in a collection for Badeal, a Syrian non-governmental organisation (NGO) committed to strengthening civil society groups and NGOs in Syria that are active or want to become active in the promotion of non-violence. 

As you'll see above near the top of the page, there is a growing call for displaced Syrians to be given refuge in the UK. Click here to find out about the Citizens UK Resettlement Campaign and how you can add your voice. 

For more on other events organised by the Peace and Justice (P&J) Group, please click here

P & J Group Contacts:

For more information, or to be added to our mailing list, please get in touch with:
Maria Henriksson-Bell
Katie Seaton
ktseahorse5@hotmail.com  /  01992 586442