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‘London Is Open’ at Chestnut Grove Academy, Balham

August 21, 2019

IRT was recently asked to speak at the ‘London Is Open’ event at the Chestnut Grove Academy in Balham, London, which was attended by 190 students from Year 7. The aim was to discuss the experiences of immigrants and refugees in order to help combat prejudice and discrimination. The event followed a ‘speed dating’ format, […]

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IRT was recently asked to speak at the ‘London Is Open’ event at the Chestnut Grove Academy in Balham, London, which was attended by 190 students from Year 7. The aim was to discuss the experiences of immigrants and refugees in order to help combat prejudice and discrimination. The event followed a ‘speed dating’ format, with the speakers sitting at individual tables and groups of around eight students rotating through for 15 minutes at a time. IRT’s CEO, Steve Smith, and Fundraising Manager, Jessica Eames, spoke to each group about the families that IRT supports overseas, telling stories of their plight in Uganda, South Sudan, Jordan and Tanzania.

Assistant Head, Jo Taylor-Campbell, who is also Head of Department Health, Philosophy, Beliefs and Ethics and Psychology, organised the event. She explained:

‘One of the greatest things about living in London is its diversity. However, not everybody is treated equally, and this is something that must be challenged. We take this task very seriously as a school and ensure that all teachers in all subjects address issues relating to equality and discrimination. We hope that this event will inspire students to take on their own forms of activism and help the vulnerable in society in whatever way they can.’

Several other charities and organisations also spoke at the event, including the Metropolitan Police and immigrants who had recently moved to the UK. The speakers discussed various topics, including the Windrush scandal and the recent spike in hate crimes against immigrants.

IRT’s Jessica Eames said of the event:

‘This is such a fantastic and unique way of educating students about the immigrant and refugee crisis in the world. I was so impressed with the Year 7 students at the Chestnut Academy who were completely engaged and genuinely interested in the subjects we spoke about, asking questions and taking notes as we spoke. The students were incredibly respectful, polite and welcoming to all of the speakers present, it was a real pleasure to spend the afternoon with them.’

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IRT would like to thank the teachers and the students at Chestnut Academy and congratulate them on the fantastic work they do.

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If you would like a member of IRT to talk at your school, please get in touch info@irt.org.uk


INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE TRUST (IRT) GETS A MAKEOVER!

August 20, 2019

Sharon Hewins As a charitable organisation, we don’t have any spare money to update our work space or equipment. All our furniture was mismatched, shabby, old and in desperate need of updating. Kate Phillips of Handelsbanken had mentioned to me a while ago that her company’s office was being refurbished. She kindly approached her Manager […]

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Sharon Hewins

As a charitable organisation, we don’t have any spare money to update our work space or equipment. All our furniture was mismatched, shabby, old and in desperate need of updating.

Kate Phillips of Handelsbanken had mentioned to me a while ago that her company’s office was being refurbished. She kindly approached her Manager and asked if we could have their old furniture as it was all in really great condition. Luckily, they were happy to donate this to us and a date was set for us to collect.

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We needed a way of transporting this furniture from their offices in Reading, Berkshire to our office in Chiswick, West London. Hiring a lorry was too expensive and so it looked like me might miss the opportunity. Thankfully, Ian Weston of i4Exhibitions, Hook, Hampshire stepped in and kindly offered us the use of one of his company Luton vans, for free! On Friday 12th July, my husband, son (extended IRT family) and I picked up the Luton van and then went on to collect the furniture.

What a lovely, kind-hearted bunch of people I met that day. Ian and Kate especially. While we were busy with the collection, my IRT colleagues were frantically clearing out our office furniture in preparation for when we arrived. It didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped because of a traffic situation on the motorway, but we finally got all our ‘new’ furniture in situ.

WE REALLY CAN’T THANK EVERYONE ENOUGH! WE NOW HAVE A LOVELY WORKING SPACE WITH MATCHING, STURDY NEW-LOOKING FURNITURE, ALL THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF THESE CARING INDIVIDUALS.

A BIG special thank you to:

Kate Phillips – for securing the furniture

Ian Weston – for the loan of his vehicle

Daren and Craig Hewins – for their blood, sweat, tears and patience (in the traffic)

By Sharon Hewins Programme Funding Manager at IRT