News & Events

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Special call for item donations to Open Hearts Open Borders ( – the amazing Plymouth organisation that ships containers of urgently needed humanitarian aid and essential items to refugees affected by conflict. They are currently still collecting items for a 40ft container going to Greece early September.
Donations of following key items (these specifically 
requested, before end of August)  can be left on Mondays and Fridays ONLY at The Exchange, 76 High Street, Totnes TQ9 5SN (c/o Suzanne)

Nappies – Sizes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6Wet WipesToothpasteShaving foam and razorsRolls of Bin Liners; Washing up Liquid

The New Union Flag Project 

– at Totnes Market Square OR pavement outside St. Mary’s Church, High St. on Friday 28th and Sat 29th July.

As we rally support to asylum seekers and refugees from different parts of the world – and recognise the diversity of histories already in our community in South Devon, Beyond Borders Totnes and the South Devon Refugee Support Network are glad to welcome to Totnes the Arts Council-funded, touring New Union Flag Project 

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By  artist Gil Mualem-Doron it aims to re-imagine the Union Jack, acknowledge and celebrate the communities that contributed to the UK’s cultural legacy. Re-created with fabric designs from all over the world the New Union Flag transforms the traditional Union Jack from an architype of uniformity – to a dynamic and celebrated on-going performance of diversity. Piloted in 2015 the project has already engaged thousands of people through gallery exhibitions (Turner Contemporary, Tate Modern, South Bank Centre, People’s History Museum – Manchester, Liverpool Museum), numerous cultural events, schools, festivals, rallies and workshops.
The New Union Flag project includes an interactive installation, photo-shoot with visitors and “Your Diversity Flag Workshop”. The photos of the participants are uploaded to the sites below and can be download for free.
More about the project, and the artist Gil Mualem-Doron you can find here:
Facebook: The New Union Flag


PAST News & Events

a sample selection of past activities for you to get the flavour of the different kinds of initiatives undertaken and possibilities for involvement….


TarteNoire June 2017 Poster

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If you would like to share it you can download the Refugee Week Poster here.


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SATURDAY DEC 10th from 11am – 3.30pm

at The White House on the Dartington Estate

We are organising a day out for women & children from Plymouth. We will be making seasonal gifts and cards out of natural objects or re-cycled materials.

If you would like to take part or can help us on the day with food, or facilitation the smooth running of the day, please contact Wendy Stayte


Facilitators for Activities with Integr8 in 2017

From Jan 7th 2017 Integr8 is starting monthly reunions in Dartington for previous programme participants. These will be from 11am – 4pm at weekends, comprising two activities – one from 11.15am – 12.45pm, the second from 2.45 – 3.45pm. The aim of the activities is to promote well-bring, connection and enjoyment, for adults and accompanied children.
Do you have the skills and ability to offer to run any of these sessions? Saif Ali  would love to hear from you!



JAN 4 – 18th at Ariel Centre
Presentation Jan 6th 

Totnes Citizens UK are hosting an exhibition of artwork by children in refugee camps in Lebanon. On 6th January, Baraa Kouja the Founder of the charity From Syria With Love, will offer a presentation on what life was like in Aleppo before the conflict. All of the profits from sales of the artwork and the recently released book will go directly to buy food, clothes and medical treatment for the refugees.

Please come and support this event. 

BREAKFAST CAFE, Sunday February 5th 2017 10am

Old School Community Centre, South Brent

All welcome to this fundraising cafe with music, in aid of local refugee initiatives!


The Integr8 Project

designed, co-ordinated and led by Saif Ali, has held in 2016 two series of 7 week workshops with people seeking asylum and refugees based in Plymouth, who then link with local people from the Totnes area for collaborative, cross-cultural communication workshops held at White House on the Dartington Estate, with support from the Dartington Hall Trust and local food-support volunteers.  Intergr8 works innovatively to empower refugees and asylum seekers and help them integrate into their host communities and start a positive life and work experience.   Contact: Saif Ali

Singing for Refugees

Singing for Refugees will be singing in Civic Square,Totnes, 11.0am on May 14th, raising money for refugees in Calais.

Open Arms Festival in Totnes
In Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

The festival runs from May 13th to May 22nd in and around Totnes, raising funds for local refugee support initiatives, highlighting debates around the subject and showcasing the literature and music of exile and immigration from around the world.

See full information here (PDF)

The festival are looking for volunteers on May 13th – two people to take tickets, and four people to serve drinks.

For further information, please contact Anna Lunk –

News of further arts/crafts workshops at Dartington White House: 

A workshop will be held on April 9th for refugees and asylum-seekers from Plymouth together with local volunteers, enjoying a variety of crafts together, with lunch and children’s activities.

This workshop is now fully booked. Others are planned for May and June.

Anyone interested in taking part in this series of workshops, please contact Fiona Green at:

Request for donation: 

Large cooking pots would be welcome for using at these activity days, which will involve cooking together for large numbers of people. Anyone with large spare pots to donate, please let Sonja Hughes know at :


The story since December 2015 how the crowdfunding donations have been spent

This is our first update informing you of what we are doing with the funds raised by the Crowdfunder appeal held in December in collaboration with The Dartington Trust and Embracing Refugees.

Click here to go to our Crowdfunding Update page.

Join us for a walk on Saturday 12th March

Would you like to join a small group of refugees, asylum seekers and Totnesians for a walk on  Saturday 12th March? We are catching the Cremyll ferry over to Mount Edgecumbe to explore the gardens….. and back again!

There are a few spaces left. If you are interested, please contact info@

Donations Welcome – Luck of Birth

Amongst the complexity of this tragic situation in Europe, our goal is very simple – to get meaningful aid to the people who are now European Refugees.

Read about the work we’re doing here (opens PDF to view) or go to our Facebook page.

You can donate here – any amount will make a difference and will go directly to the refugee crisis. Thank you!

Request for Assistance:

Can you help?
Driving on 27th Feb

On Feb 27th we are running a workshop at White House, which we hope will be the beginning of a series of workshops.

We need help with providing transport from Totnes station to White House, at around 11am and returning at around 4.30pm. We are especially looking for help from anyone who has a child seat in their car.

Also, donations of unused tins or half-tins of coloured emulsion paint, and materials for rag-rugging or knitting wool for same purpose all welcome, and any other art/craft materials for children.

If you can help, please contact Wendy –

News & Volunteering Opportunities at White House

Recent update on renovation:

“Another fantastic day yesterday with volunteers at White House so thanks again to all those that could help. We made a good start on the communal areas downstairs giving the kitchen and utility room a good clean and starting to get paint on some of the walls.


Request for volunteers for painting:

In order to get all the main jobs finished, next week we are going to have 2 volunteer days:

  • Tuesday 23rd Feb 10:00 – 12: 15 and again 14:15 – 16:30
  • Thursday 24th Feb 10:00 – 13:00 and again 14:15 – 16:30

If you can come on either of these days, please bring old clothes that you don’t mind wearing whilst painting.

Request for volunteers for workshop:

Saturday 27th February – Welcoming Refugees and Asylum Seekers

We also have the first White House Workshop for Asylum Seekers and Refugees happening on Saturday 27th February (poster attached). Wendy and Fiona who are organising this event would really appreciate some more volunteer support e.g. providing lifts for people from the train station and helping with cooking/ serving lunch, and with running the activities.

If you think you could help let Wendy Stayte [] know.

The late call-out for help with this event is because a much larger group of asylum-seekers and refugees are hoping to join us on that day than originally anticipated, which is very welcome.

Upcoming Events:

From Syria With Love: Come and join us for an art exhibition of drawings created by Syrian children living in a refugee camp in Lebanon.


There will be speeches and a presentation by Baraa Kouja and Ahmed, a Syrian Refugee who worked for the UN in Syria at 5pm on Saturday 20th February.

The exhibition has been organised by Baraa Ehsaan Kouja, a Syrian student at the University of Exeter, and Alison Williams, and sponsored by Totnes Citizens UK

There will be around 50 prints of drawings and paintings made by Syrian refugee children aged 12-18 currently living in Al-Abrar refugee camp in Lebanon. Some of the works reflect the trauma that the young people have experienced, while others are more hopeful and optimistic.

“There is now a lost generation of Syrian children – children who are losing their education, who have been forced to think about war and destruction rather than peace and love” Baraa said.

“These paintings show something of the awful reality that Syrians have endured, but also their dreams. I have lived in Exeter for a year, and have met many wonderful people working for the relief of refugees, both at the university and in the town. This exhibition complements that work by showing the real experiences of real refugees”.

Alongside each picture, as well as the title and the name of the artist, there will be a photo of the tent they are currently living in, and a brief statement of that child’s dream. Every child has the right to dream.

Singing For Refugees will be performing at the Civic Hall on the 26th of February. Rehearsals for this event take place every Friday in St Johns church Bridgetown between 7.00pm and 8.30. All singers and instrumentalists are welcome. Please come along or contact Steve Or Pauline Hastings for more details.

Contact: /

Two events organised by Freedom from Torture

1. Friday 26 February, starting at 7.30 pm, at the Mint Methodist Church, Fore St, Exeter – members of Freedom from Torture’s Write to Life project are coming down from London to give a presentation of ‘The A – Z Guide to the Poverty Barrier’, a video highlighting the reality of poverty in the UK from a torture survivor’s perspective, followed by a q&a session.  Light refreshments.

2.  Saturday 27 February – a coffee and cake morning at the Friends Meeting House in Ashburton, starting at 09.45 am with a talk by members of Freedom from Torture’s Write to Life group at approximately10.30 am.


Important feedback for us to hear:

Click here to read two reports from local women who have gone to help with the Calais situation recently. (PDF opens in new window)


ASHBURTON evening of feast and refection

On Friday night 20th November, Ashburton Refugees Welcome Group hosted a feast, free of charge and open to all. Local people and guests from Plymouth who are refugees, to share food and time together, and hear a talk from former refugee and activist Saif Ali.

About 140 people turned up, the food was abundant and delicious. We heard the voices of refugees : their needs, humour, recipes and more. Refugee journeys do not end upon arriving here: isolation, no local knowledge or networks, can lead to isolation and depression, compounding trauma .
A collection for refugee charities raised £750. That night, and since, we felt the love and determination in the room, and saw it in action.
Thank you to all those who played a part, large and small in helping the evening take place and succeed beyond all our expectations.
Small events like these are happening all around the country. This is how change happens. This is what anyone who wants to do something for refugees can do. Feel the love. Be the change. Pass it on.

Past Events:

Induction Meeting Feb 3rd 7 – 9pm


It will now take place at St. Johns Church Bridgetown.

No need to book, please come along for an informative exchange on how we can support asylum seekers and refugees in ways that are sensitive to their needs.

Please tell your friends of the new venue, and that they are very welcome to join us.


Saturday 16 January 2016 – Tuesday 19 January 2016

Art exhibition of drawings and paintings created by Syrian Children aged 12-18 currently living in Al-Abrar refugee camp in Lebanon – reflecting the trauma as well as hope and optimism.

At The Gallery, Hannahs at Seale-Hayne, Howton Lane, Newton Abbot, TQ12 6NQ

The exhibition has been organised by Baraa Ehsaan Kouja, a Syrian student at the University of Exeter, and Hannahs Organisation.

There is to be a New Year’s eve celebration in Totnes Civic Hall. Between 8.00pm and 9.00pm a group of us will be singing to raise money for refugees.

Rehearsals for this will be at 7.00 pm in St Johns church Bridgetown on the 27th and 30th of December. All singers and musicians welcome.

We will rehearse 6 songs if time allows.

For the first rehearsal on the 27th we will concentrate on learning the words and singing together. At the second we will learn harmonies. If you play an instrument please bring it to both rehearsals. I will provide all the music and words but you could have a look at the youtube clips to help learn the songs before we meet. The 6 songs we will all sing will be…..

  • Bread and Roses
  • We shall overcome
  • Blowing in the wind
  • Na Bosforu I stamboli
  • Tum Balalaika
  • Bubamara

All these songs are easy to learn and will involve the audience. There will also be songs by refugees but I don’t know the name of these yet.

Contact Steve Hastings at

The Totnes Christmas Tree Festival held at St Mary’s Totnes will be in aid of Beyond Borders Totnes and District.

There will be up to 40 trees this year, all representing the many different Charities and Voluntary Groups in our town.

The Festival will be launched with a short service of blessing on Tuesday 8th December at 6pm – just in time for Late Night Shopping. It will be open until January 4th.

Totnes Citizens UK workshop in Ashprington Village Hall on Tuesday 10th November, 6.30 – 8.30pm.

All welcome.  Focus on activities to do with lobbying government, welcoming, housing and supporting refugees. All welcome. The Totnes Citizens UK group is keen to make contact with everyone concerned for refugees for concerted efforts. Citizens UK 6 million members nationwide.  See details of CUK’s refugee lobbying work and contact info under Peter Oswald in LISTING

A Round Table

will be held on Monday 26th October 3pm – 6pm in the Upper Gatehouse Meeting Room in the Courtyard, on the Dartington Estate.

Hosted by Beyond Borders @ Dartington, please find more details and a map at the Dartington website

Everyone who is willing to offer some practical support to refugees and asylum seekers – of whatever kind – is very warmly invited.

People will be coming from Plymouth Red Cross to help further understanding of the realities of situations of asylum seekers and refugees, the nature of challenges they face being here – and help us listen more about the specific needs and possibilities that refugees and asylum seekers might welcome – and help us grasp better the long-standing asylum seekers dispersal / reception programme.

Will also include an update on the government’s ‘Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme’ and how Dartington and other local initatives are working to link into that.

The hope is to further collaborative discussions, explore the best ways to move forward, and maybe begin to ‘self-sort’ into groupings around particular offers, interests and ideas.

Friday 16th October: Candelit vigil in support of refugees – Exeter

The Exeter University British Red Cross group (EUBRC) are collaborating with the Amnesty International and OXFAM societies to organise a candlelit vigil in quiet reflection upon those who have lost their lives, homes and families in the current European Refugee Crisis. The plan is to walk from the Forum to the Cathedral, each carrying a candle. The event will be introduced by a Syrian refugee and concluded with the poem ‘Refugee Blues’ by W.H. Auden, and at our final destination we will arrange the candles to spell out ‘Refugees Welcome’. The event is open to all. Facebook event entitled Candlelit Vigil in Support of the Refugees if you would like to pay it a visit.

Contact Ella Coates on 07860402300 / 01305 214437 for any queries.

 Beyond Borders Totnes
7pm Saturday 10th October
The Civic Hall, Totnes

A Beyond Borders Totnes & District meeting in collaboration with the Plymouth Red Cross Refugee Support and Exeter Refugee Support Devon – and with kind support from the Mayor of Totnes Town Council and the Circle of Women Elders.

  • To deepen understanding of local asylum seeker and refugee contexts, realities and needs
  • To strengthen the building of networks and a communication hub for local community support initiatives and collaborations

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