Some journeys are undesired, unwillingly imposed.
Bishop’s Castle created a ‘Community Response’ to the refugee crisis in Ukraine.
Funding raising for 2 ‘frontline’ groups working with Ukrainian refugees
Poland & Romania
The first event occurred on April 9th at the SPARC Theatre
The Bethany Foundation:
Bethany Social Services Foundation supports children and young people in need by providing them with therapeutic, psychological and material support
The Bethany Social Services Foundation, together with the Iași Community Foundation and the CIVICA Association, is reactivating the EMERGENCY FUND to support refugee families in Ukraine. Through the humanitarian campaign “Solidarity and help for refugee families in Ukraine” we want to contribute to raising the necessary funds to help children, women and the elderly who have crossed or will cross the border into Romania, seeking shelter.
There is an active Facebook page
(where necessary click on ‘see translation’ at base of messages)
Bethany has a direct giving web page.
Using this page ensures that money goes directly to the Foundation.
It is in local currency (‘Lei’) with a conversion charge for £ sterling, $ US dollar, & € Euros
WSEH is an economics and humanities University in Bielsko-Biała, Silesia
It has created a new team within the University to develop work with Ukrainian refugees.
WSEH University in has students and staff from Ukraine
It also has strong links with a University in Sumy, a city in eastern Ukraine presently (March 2022) being heavily bombarded.
In March/April 2022 the city of Bielsko-Biała has received many refugees & is preparing to assist and accommodate many more.
‘Working outside the boundaries’
There are formal processes for which official government and EU funding will be available. As a University we will be able to work with local & national government.
We wish to ‘go-further’ providing
- informal care with volunteers,
- helping to integrate families into local society,
- working towards as much ‘normalisation’ as possible.
- Arranging, walks, sporting events, family social gatherings with local people and
- as much ‘fun’ as possible – and for as long as is necessary.
The University has created an internal institute to work at practical actions, supported by in-depth research & called
The Institute for Refugee Integration
The activities being developed immediately & in relation to the initial phases of the Ukrainian crisis will form the basis of a longer-term commitment.
SPARC Theatre on 9th April 2022
The first fund Raising Event
The event created a flow of visitors during the afternoon – many of whom had also provided a variety of goods (especially plants & cakes) for sale.
Several comments suggested that the whole event had provided an opportunity for people to join in a community activity for the first time (due to Covid) in nearly 2 years
The Freedom Band
Background to the Fundraising Action
Partnerships & Visits
Since 1990 groups from across Europe have been hosted in Bishop’s Castle & District & local groups & individuals have shared reciprocal visits.
16 Partnership Programmes (2 yr actions)
1 Community Development programme (2 yrs)
2 Five day Workshops in Bishop’s Castle
2 Two day Workshops in Bishop’s Castle
How the links developed
1989: The collapse of the ‘Iron Curtain’ & authoritarian regimes in Central & Eastern Europe
The first links 1990 – 2003
Visit to The Community College by Romanian teacher Radu Alexandrescu
The College, following a request, supplied typewriters to schools & journalists in Râmnicu Vâlcea
1991 – 1994
Links with Bishop’s Castle
– Business & Development group from Râmnicu Vâlcea
– Romania’s leading young pianist based & performing locally whilst on tour
– students from Râmnicu Vâlcea hosted by local families around Bishop’s Castle
– students study A levels at the Community College. Hosted in Hyssington
– 2 students from the Community College visit Râmnicu Vâlcea
– 1992 – 1994: Community Development workshops in Râmnicu Vâlcea and district supported by Newtown Rotarians.
Pathways ID volunteers (Sarn & Newtown) invited to Iași by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Moldavia & Bucovina
Visits to UK by groups & individuals from Iași
The first group in 1999 are leaders of a Iasi based development project developing an urban walking trail ‘The Green Line’. The project funded by UK Charity Know How Fund.
Completes with a presentation of plans to officials of Iasi County Authority
During the visit to Bishop’s Castle the group adopts the term ‘COTU‘ for the town
‘Centre Of The Universe’.
It becomes the name used by many of the groups that follow them.
2003 – 2021
The partnership programmes are developed involving a wide range of countries (including China 2015 – 17)
The Polish Connections
2008 – 2022
UK Partnership projects with Poland included groups from Iasi
In a Romanian monastery, a Polish visitor from Zabrze, A Brit from Wales & local Romanian host contemplate the forthcoming meal
In Zabrze Romanians, Brits, Italians & Poles debate a menu
…… and begin to dance