The newly formed Caritas Group at St Joseph’s parish in Reddish, Stockport decided to take part in the Refugee Dine With Me project for their first activity together.

We didn’t really know how to help asylum seekers and refugees, but wanted to show that we care, so to welcome a family to our homes for a meal was a great way of doing it. We found out a bit about different cultures, religions, and the food we all eat. And then we arranged to have a guest family into our homes to welcome them and show them our friendship and hospitality.

With fantastic help and support from Father Uchenna and the team at Revive, which is an organisation that helps asylum seekers and refugees in Manchester and Salford, we were partnered up with guests who we invited for a meal.

Maureen and Ray joined forces for their meal. It went very well and they really enjoyed hosting their guests. As it was a lovely day then even went to the local park together after the meal was finished.

David was understandably a bit nervous before his event as he wanted to get everything right and wasn’t sure what to expect. But he says “It was great and we had a ball”. They sat in the garden and chatted away, and then they all went to enjoy a walk on Reddish Vale afterwards.

Tony found out a bit of his guests’ family history by talking about their names. His guests were actually persecuted Christians from Eritrea. They all really enjoyed the meal and the company.

Julia teamed up with her friend Karen for their meal. Their guests were also from Eritrea. The meal was relaxed and friendly, and they formed a real bond after just a few hours. Even though one of the boys could speak little English, Julia was very happy to establish that he is a keen Manchester City fan!

In fact we all enjoyed the experience so much that we are going to do it again very soon. Refugee Dine With Me is a great way of reaching out the hand of friendship to people who have come to our country in difficult circumstances.

Thanks again to Father Uchenna and the Revive team for making it possible.

If you want to host a Refugee Dine With Me event via your parish or workplace please contact refugeedinewithme@caritassalford.org.uk for more information. At St Joseph’s we are certainly very glad we did.