Impassioned debate at film screening

Screening of the film ‘Welcome’ prompted a lively and thought-provoking debate.

On Saturday a screening by the Communities and Partnerships Framework of the film ‘Welcome’ prompted a lively and thought-provoking debate about the current situation surrounding refugees and migrants.

The audience was particularly moved by the testimony of a man currently seeking asylum in the UK, who spoke of his recent experience in the ‘jungle’.

The panel included Ruth Matthews from Kent Refugee Action Network, Tom Radcliffe who is involved with the volunteer group CalAid, Richard Warren, an Immigration and Asylum Solicitor at the Kent Law Clinic at the University of, and David Slater Chaplain to Channel Tunnel and the Port of Dover. It was chaired by the Archdeacon of Maidstone the Venerable Stephen Taylor.

Each guest offered an interesting perspective on the situation, particularly highlighting the pressing need both in Calais and in Kent, for volunteers to help distribute and sort goods, as well as befriend and mentor particularly young unaccompanied refugees and migrants in Kent.

The overwhelming feeling of the audience was that Christians and other individuals needed to be prepared to be the voice of compassion for migrants and refugees. There was a real willingness from those present to get more involved with volunteering to support those within the camp and in Kent.

The filmed followed the story of Bilal, a young man who travels illegally across Europe from Iraq and then attempts to make it across the Channel by swimming. The film depicted life for those within the camp in Calais and the impact of their presence of others within the town, particularly those who try to help them.

The diocese’s Refugee Toolkit is currently being updated ahead of an open session to discuss the refugee crisis at Diocesan Synod this Saturday: