What links unique flavours, a handful of fun and plenty of dough raised to help asylum seekers and refugees? Refugee Action’s first ever World Food Night! Fundraising Manager Alison Gregory rounds up the very best of the night from around the UK.
Here in the fundraising team, we’re constantly looking for creative ways to engage supporters and potential supporters in the vital work that we do – providing a lifeline for asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. After lots of coffee (and a few muffins) we came up with World Food Night. What better way to inspire people to take action than to ask them to organise dinner parties?! We know that 68% of people think that immigration has been great for British food, and our refugee beneficiaries were more than happy to donate recipes from all over the world. So, on February 24th we asked our supporters to invite their friends, colleagues and neighbours round, cook them delicious food and raise a bit of cash which went straight to funding much needed destitution projects.
We were overwhelmed by the amount of support across the whole country. People welcomed neighbours into their houses, echoing our vision that all refugees and asylum seekers feel welcomed in the UK. Events were organised in cafes, restaurants and community centres. Professional guitarists performed, local councillors came to make speeches and at one event, they were having so much fun and frolics with the mouth-watering food they forgot to hold their raffle!
In Liverpool, eight young refugees from one of our projects cooked up a storm in a professional kitchen, which included Kurdish salad, Eritrean ‘teddy-fish’ and ‘Scouse’ – a Liverpudlian delicacy (ask our Liverpool team if you want to know more on that!)
And it all happened for a reason – so far we’ve raised a fantastic £7000! Because we’re such a small charity, that’s being put to use straight away where it’s needed most, helping destitute asylum seekers – those who don’t have shelter, or access to regular hot meals. Just £10 will pay for hot drinks for more than 20 people living on the street, who can also have a shower and receive clean clothes. You can see the support we’ve had for this is really fantastic. Don’t forget to send any outstanding donations in by April 2nd – that’s when we’re giving the prize to the person who raises the most – a free meal for two at Levi’s eatery in London! And for the runner up, a free visit for two round Castle Rock Brewery in Nottingham.
As one World Food Night organiser declared ‘plantain soup, joloff rice, spinach and coconut in fresh fruit, friends to share it with and money for Refugee Action…what more could you want?!’ And the best bit…everyone is coming back next year for an even bigger and better World Food Night on February 22nd 2013. If you want to get involved, you can register for your free recipes now!