On your marks, get set, pack! Packing for asylum seekers gets underway

Norwich youth group prepares rucksacks of essentials for asylum seekers. Picture: courtesy of CAFOD

Norwich youth group prepares rucksacks of essentials for asylum seekers. Picture: courtesy of CAFOD - Credit: courtesy of CAFOD

A Norwich youth group has started packing rucksacks for asylum seekers arriving into the city.

Norwich youth group prepares rucksacks of essentials for asylum seekers. Picture: courtesy of CAFOD

Norwich youth group prepares rucksacks of essentials for asylum seekers. Picture: courtesy of CAFOD - Credit: courtesy of CAFOD

Responding to the refugee crisis, they began collecting basic goods and toiletries from parishioners and Notre Dame School.

The group from St. John the Baptist's Cathedral compiled a list of items from feedback recieved from asylum seekers, meaning everything the youth group collected was useful.

With the large number of rucksacks to pack, one of the race organisers, Carol Chiltern made it into a game to make the process fun. The children had to find all 20 items for the rucksack by doing a competitive scavenger hunt outside.

Packing bags was especially poignant for some members of the youth group as Jo Graham, lead catechist at St. Johns said: 'For some, collecting goods for people in need is all academic. But within the parish we have a growing number of refugees and asylum seekers.

Norwich youth group prepares rucksacks of essentials for asylum seekers. Picture: courtesy of CAFOD

Norwich youth group prepares rucksacks of essentials for asylum seekers. Picture: courtesy of CAFOD - Credit: courtesy of CAFOD


You may also want to watch:


'For them, it's a lived experience and they make it very real. The bags stop being packed for some nameless individual.'

The aid agency CAFOD has been encouraging people to respond to the refugee crisis with respect and love through writing messages of hope to refugees.

Most Read

Parishioners were invited to place a sticker on a map to show their country of origin, before writing messaged expressing their solidarity with refugees.

254 messages were collected from the parishioners who came from over 50 countries around the world: from Mexico to Iceland to the Philippines. They are now distributed by CAFOD to refugees at home and abroad.

Norwich youth group prepares rucksacks of essentials for asylum seekers. Picture: courtesy of CAFOD

Norwich youth group prepares rucksacks of essentials for asylum seekers. Picture: courtesy of CAFOD - Credit: courtesy of CAFOD

Young parishioner Beatrix wrote a message saying: 'I think that you are being very brave and I hope you feel welcome in our country. I want you to feel that you are now somewhere safe. I will always be praying for you and thinking about you'.

CAFOD representative in Norwich, Stephen Matthews said: 'It's wonderful to see young people taking the lead and helping others to see. As Pope Francis said that 'migrants and refugees are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved.' Keep up the good work.'

The packed rucksacks will now be stored with volunteers before being given to asylum seekers when they arrive in Norwich.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter