These 17 and 18 year olds became increasingly concerned about the negative portrayal of asylum seekers in the UK after meeting a small group of asylum seekers in a school assembly. Moved by their stories, the group wanted to do something to help.
Taking the call of Pope Francis to ‘welcome the stranger at our door’ to heart, the group organised a festive meal at Christmas for 60 asylum seekers to share with members of the 6th Form. To make their guests feel at home they researched celebratory food from the Middle East and Africa (where most of the asylum seekers are from).
The group rallied the local community. Fellow students brough in gifts of staples such as toiletries, rice, spices and pulses so each guest took away a goody bag. Parents helped decorate the school hall. The school’s catering company were pursuaded to cook all the food free of the charge. And the local bus company donated a coach to pick up and drop off the guests!
Since then, some 6th Form students have volunteered with Asylum Link Liverpool to help asylum seekers learn English, and others helped a successful asylum seeker find the funds for an interpreting course. Each idea seems to lead to another. After discussing the boredom many asylum seekers face, one of the group researched how much tickets to a local FA Cup game a few weeks away might be. Suddenly thirty cut price tickets were arranged for the game!
To ensure subsequent generations take up their mantle, the group developed a day based on asylum for every student in Year 7, 8 and 9.
What they said: “This has become a whole school effort, but what has happened has been driven by the boys” - Louise Baines, Teacher