Double recognition of work with Refugees
This year’s Wilson-Hinkes Peace Award has been awarded to two projects working with refugees and asylum seekers. The first is Wycombe Refugee Partnership (WRP), a multicultural group of concerned people who seek to support refugee families when they are reunited in the UK. The second goes to Dr Inderjit Bhogal, President of the Methodist Peace Fellowship and former leader of Corrymeela, for his pioneering work in initiating the City of Sanctuary movement.
Sue Claydon, Vice-chair of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, commented on the importance of supporting work with refugees: “Governments are often unwilling to accept responsibility for the millions of refugees their military actions create. And the world easily forgets the suffering of those displaced by war and conflict. There is a strong case for these refugee crises to be accounted in the cost of war and adequate reparations made by those responsible. It is also important to acknowledge and praise all the volunteers and aid organisations who stand in the breach and do what they can to relieve the suffering.”
The Wilson-Hinkes Peace Prize was awarded at a Service on Sunday, 8th October at 2.30 pm, at Hinde Street Methodist Church, London organised by the inter faith initiative, the Week of Prayer for World Peace (WPWP). The Peace Prize recognises significant contributions by individuals, organisations or projects in furthering peace, justice and reconciliation. The focus is on grassroots initiatives which enable otherwise untold stories to be told and honoured and to inspire others to work for peace. Each year a different faith group sponsors the award. This year the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship is sponsoring the prize.
When Saleema Burney, Secretary of WRP, heard about the Award she said: “We’re delighted and grateful to have been chosen for the Wilson-Hinkes Peace Award. The Award highlights the peace-building nature of our work and encourages us. And it affirms our efforts to help refugee families within our community. As well as giving recognition to our volunteers, we hope it will inspire groups in other parts of the country to do something similar.”
Dr Inderjit Bhogal said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled by this award, which is a tribute to the work of so many people contributing to peace-making I have worked with in the City of Sanctuary movement, Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland, and many Peace Groups in the UK and beyond.”
The Award was presented at the National Week of Prayer for World Peace Service, at the Hinde Street Methodist Church in London, on Sunday, 8th October. Both winners received a cheque for £500 to further the work of the projects.
Dr Bhogal talked about the work of the City of Sanctuary movement: “The City of Sanctuary movement has spread to all parts of Britain and Ireland, and has recently launched its first “Sanctuary” building in Sheffield. This will be a place where people of different national, social and religious backgrounds will come together to share food, culture and conversation, building and promoting peace at the most grass roots level – activities replicated in so many ways across the land. The award money of £500 will go to this work.”
When asked about those who benefit from WRP, Dr Michael Bowker, Trustee said: “One of the first children we rehoused was a little girl from Aleppo. She used to play with her neighbours, but they were killed by a bomb. Thanks to everyone who is part of the Wycombe Refugee Partnership she and her family have been given a safe new home in High Wycombe. Now nearly 4, she attends school and chatters in English as well as her mother-tongue Kurdish.”