A literary festival in Hastings, England will be raising money for refugee support. Hastings Literary Festival organisers have promised to back two Sussex groups offering support and advocacy for refugees. During the festival, taking place September 23–25, there will be a fundraising collection for Hastings Community of Sanctuary and the Gatwick Detainees Welfare.
The festival line-up includes an event featuring the broadcaster Bidisha, with Refugee Tales editor David Herd and poet Simon Smith talking about and reading from Refugee Tales IV which shares the stories of people who have experienced indefinite immigration detention in the UK.
The book is the latest volume of an outreach project by the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, inspired by the experiences of men held in immigration detention at Gatwick. The new volume focuses on detention during the COVID-19 pandemic, relates how increasingly vulnerable detainees have become and describes detention as a global issue.
Hasting Literary Festival founder and director Sam Davey says: “Our Refugee Tales event is a powerful reminder that the refugee crisis is worsening every day and that the people who most need our help are suffering greatly. Our fundraising efforts during the festival will go to two outstanding organisations who are making significant efforts to alleviate that suffering.”
Hastings joined the national movement City of Sanctuary in 2017. Hastings Community of Sanctuary seeks to build a strong network to nurture a narrative of kindness, support and hospitality towards those seeking refuge. Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group was set up in 1995 when the UK Immigration Service began to detain people at a small holding centre near Gatwick Airport and now has around 70 volunteers.