JULIET STEVENSON VISITS REFUGEE CAMPS IN GREECE WITH SAFE PASSAGE AND HELP REFUGEES

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Our co-founder, the actress Juliet Stevenson, travelled in May to Athens with Safe Passage and Help Refugees, two of the charities supported by HighgateHasHeart. She visited two refugee camps offering shelter for unaccompanied children, and various charity projects in and around the city. The first camp is situated in the disused Hellinikon Olympic stadium, where 3,000 refugees attempt to survive in a mixture of UNHCR tents and flimsy home-made shelters. Based on the outskirts of Athens, they have little access to the city or facilities.

 

There Juliet met with refugees from Afghanistan and Syria, some of whom have been stuck there as long as 18 months. She described the conditions: “There are no facilities for children, no schooling, no shops, no access to services. Everywhere amongst the crumbling building and weed-strewn building of these civic structures, an air of quiet desperation prevails.”

 

Another camp she visited is Skaramagas, built by the Greek Ministry for Migration Policy. “Here people live in small metal container shelters. In the summer the conditions are dry and swelteringly hot. Various projects are run by a number of different charities and NGOs that offer language learning and skills training.”

Juliet was especially impressed by A Drop in the Ocean, a small effective charity funded by Help Refugees, offering language classes, learning skills and social activities in an atmosphere of colour, light and welcome.

 

Juliet also travelled to 4 different shelters within the city of Athens where unaccompanied children are offered bed, board and differing levels of support. She was struck by the desperate plight of young refugees. “As soon as they turn 18 they are turfed back onto the streets. The number of places available in these shelters is painfully insufficient for the numbers of children needing them. Talking to the inspirational staff at the shelters, it is clear that one of the main issues is children’s mental health. The traumas these children experience fleeing their countries have often led to severe anxiety and depression, compounded by home sickness, isolation, and the uncertainty that characterises their young lives.“

 

Juliet described how she was blown away by the care and dedication of the staff and volunteers working at the shelters and by the commitment of all those working for refugees on the ground in Athens. “The whole visit served to strengthen our great desire to raise funds for these projects and to do all we can to help those who work with such commitment to help and support refugees across Europe.“

 

To make a donation to these urgent causes please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/highgatehasheart

 

HHH FUNDRAISING REACHES £71,000 FOR URGENT REFUGEE CAUSES

HighgateHasHeart would like to thank ALL our supporters for helping us to raise an incredible £71,000 since June 2016. This is largely as a result of our online auction, with incredible prizes, our Winter Party in February, and the online auction run by children's author Fiona Dunbar "Authors for Refugees". We have now donated £24k to each of our nominated charities: Help Refugees, Safe Passage and Islington Centre. The funds have 100% gone to vital refugee causes, and we will keep in touch with the progress and activity from the charities. We cannot thank our donors, volunteers, prize givers, bidders, friends and supporters enough. Please spread the word so we can reach our £100,000 target. Please sign up to our newsletter by emailing  info@highgatehasheart

HIGHGATEHASHEART WINTER PARTY RAISES £41,000 FOR REFUGEE CAUSES

Ruby Wax and Juliet Stevenson - Entertainment Extraordinaire

Ruby Wax and Juliet Stevenson - Entertainment Extraordinaire

On the 4th of February we held our Winter Party, with an auction run by the actor and comedian David Schneider. The prizes included a tour around Channel 4 by Jon Snow, a tour of the Aston Martin factory and acting lessons from Juliet Stevenson. It was a great evening and together with the auction, it was a hugely successful fundraiser.  We raised over £40,000 for our charities, The Islington Centre for Refugees, Safe Passage and Help Refugees. 
 
The party was thoroughly enjoyable with a delicious three course meal, followed by people getting into the swing of things and showing off some great dance moves! The music was provided by a live performance from The Dung Beetles. 
 
The evening was made extra special by a guest appearance from Ruby Wax, who joined Juliet Stevenson on the stage for a thoroughly entertaining Q&A. We couldn't have done it without your support to make the event such a success. Thank you to everyone who donated the amazing prizes, the Highgate Golf Club and all those who attended the evening and generously bid on the auction online and in the evening.

 

HHH ONLINE AUCTION TRUMPS REFUGEE SUPPORT WITH MONEY-CAN'T-BUY PRIZES

Win a private tour of the Aston Martin factory

Win a private tour of the Aston Martin factory

 

Have you ever wanted a private tour of the Aston Martin factory, a tour round Channel 4 hosted by Jon Snow, a pampering session with a facialist to the stars or acting lessons from Juliet Stevenson? These and many other money-can’t-buy prizes are now available from HighgateHasHeart's (HHH) online auction https://www.32auctions.com/HighgateHasHeart2017

In a week where refugee support is the top of the news agenda, our online auction closes this weekend on Saturday 4 February at 10am before the HHH Winter Party on the same evening (now sold out). All items on the site can be bid for up until the closing date. If there is an item bidders particularly covet, you can send a final bid price by Proxy to help guard against a higher bid that evening. The live auction will be conducted by the actor/comedian Dave Schneider.

All funds raised from the auction will be divided between the three charities we support: Help Refugees, the Islington Centre for Refugees and Safe Passage. 

To bid on an item in the online auction, please visit  https://www.32auctions.com/HighgateHasHeart2017

For further information:

please contact: Email: info@highgatehasheart.com

 

HIGHGATE HAS HEART HOLDS FUNDRAISING WINTER PARTY

We are organising a gala Winter Party on Saturday February 4th at the Highgate Golf Club, which has been generously offered to us for free.

The aim is to raise some major funds for the three charities we support. Proceeds will go to Safe Passage (Citizens UK) to support the resettlement of child refugees from Europe in the UK legally and safely, Help Refugees to provide essential winter shelter and protection to some of the 60,000 refugees who will spend this winter in Greece and the Islington Centre to help them open for 3 days a week in 2017 providing a lifeline to refugees who are already in London.

As a highlight of the evening we are planning an auction with truly original prizes for guests to bid for  – rare items, unique experiences, and the one-offs that people will  covet and talk about. 

If you are able donate an auction prize or a raffle prize, please contact us now at info@highgatehasheart.com. if you would be interested in tickets at £70.00/head, please request a booking form. Just a few tickets left! 

The prizes will be publicised in the auction programme and to the dinner attendees in advance, and on the evening. They may also be included on our Highgate Has Heart and dedicated auction website (with your permission). 

 

LAST CHANCE reading of Dublin III regulation: a staged plea at the Young Vic

Last Chance reading: from left to right, Juliet Stevenson, Carey Mulligan, Joe Robertson (Good Chance), Joe Murphy (Good Chance), Vanessa Redgrave

Last Chance reading: from left to right, Juliet Stevenson, Carey Mulligan, Joe Robertson (Good Chance), Joe Murphy (Good Chance), Vanessa Redgrave

It is not often that the the legal articles of regulation form the basis of live theatre, but the Dublin III legislation, pivotal to the refugee crisis, was in the limelight at the Young Vic last week when actors took to the stage in an urgent plea to the Government to help child refugees in Calais.  Juliet Stevenson, Carey Mulligan, Samuel West, Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson were joined by refugees in a reading of the Dublin III regulation, as a last call to the Government to speed up the resettlement of process of minors, days before the camp's imminent demolition this week.

The Dublin III regulation sets out the legal basis for the criteria that determine the country responsible for asylum applications lodged by a stateless person. This allows a minor who has family in another country to have their asylum claim transferred to that country.  In addition the amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 in May (brought by Lord Dubs and known as the Dubs amendment) requires the Government to relocate unaccompanied child refugees from Europe. However despite both Dublin III and the Dubs Amendment being enshrined in law, thousands of refugee children across Europe are still stranded in dire circumstances. Pressure has mounted on the UK government from charities, campaign groups, faith leaders, community groups and celebrities to take urgent action in the light of the eviction of the Calais camp. 

Juliet Stevenson, a Safe Passage Advisory Council member and a co-founder of HighgateHasHeart, said: "Until last week the Safe Passage programme had brought 62 children from Calais safely and legally under this legislation, but time is running out for the rest of the unaccompanied minors in the camp. It is terrific that the Government has finally turned its attention to this issue, but the concern is because it is all last minute and they (the Government) don't have the experience on the ground, the identifying of these children is very difficult to achieve in an atmosphere of fear, panic and chaos."

The Last Chance reading was organised by "Good Chance", a charity project set up playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robinson, who created a temporary theatre in Calais in response to the refugee crisis and an associate company of The Young Vic.

Safe Passage is one of the three charities supported by HighgateHasHeart. To support  this vital work, please make a donation today. https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/highgatehasheart

 

Authors For Refugees online auction raises £22,457 for HighgateHasHeart refugee causes

Fancy having a picnic with Philip Ardagh, being drawn by the Gruffalo artist and being pelted with stale buns? That raised £353.00

Fancy having a picnic with Philip Ardagh, being drawn by the Gruffalo artist and being pelted with stale buns? That raised £353.00

Your name in Frank Cottrell Boyce's next book raised £250.00

Your name in Frank Cottrell Boyce's next book raised £250.00

A signed copy of War Horse raised £100.00

A signed copy of War Horse raised £100.00

The Doctor Who signed book and poster package raised £450.00

The Doctor Who signed book and poster package raised £450.00

Children's author Fiona Dunbar who masterminded the AuthorsForRefugees online auction

Children's author Fiona Dunbar who masterminded the AuthorsForRefugees online auction

The online auction organised by children's author Fiona Dunbar, Authors For Refugees, has raised a phenomenal £22,457 in pledges in aid of the refugee charities supported by HighgateHasHeart. A mixture of signed books, original artworks, holidays and manuscript critiques offered by authors' and literary agents was hugely popular, with most lots attracting multiple bids.

Fiona, a friend of the founders of HighgateHasHeart, attended our launch event at St Michael's School and was inspired to involve her network of children's authors in a major fundraising campaign. She set up a dedicated website for the online auction, organised the lots and publicised it widely. The funds raised will be a fantastic help to our three nominated charities at a time of crisis: HelpRefugees, Safe Passage (Citizens UK) and the Islington Refugee Centre.   https://authorsforrefugees.wordpress.com/  

BRAVO FIONA!

Highlights included:

A signed copy of "War Horse" by Michael Morpugo (£100.00)

A signed copy of "The Tiger who came for Tea" by Judith Kerr (£200.00)

Dr Who Package of book and posters signed by the author Daniel Blythe, including a signed poster by The Doctor himself Peter Capaldi (£450.00)

Dedication and signed copy of "Horrid Henry Christmas" by Francesca Simon (£115.00)

Your name in Frank Cottrell Boyce's next book (£250.00)

A picnic lunch with Philip Ardagh while "Gruffalo" artist Axel Scheffler draws you and Dottie Hendrix pelts you with stale buns (£353.00)

Your name included in Marjorie Blackman's next book and a signed copy of "Noughts and Crosses" (£80.00)

 

UPDATE ON CALAIS CAMP - URGENT ACTION NEEDED NOW

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The situation in the Calais jungle has reached crisis point, with food supplies and basic provisions running out, and most worryingly, the threat of an imminent demolition by French authorities, without any clear plan in place. So the pressure is on to get the unaccompanied children in Calais out of there as soon as possible. There are 387 unaccompanied child refugees in Calais whose individual names have been handed in to Amber Rudd at the Home Office on a list. 178 of these children are Dublin category children who have legal entitlement to Family Reunion here in the UK because they have close family members here waiting for them. The other 209 have been identified as particularly vulnerable and are therefore in the Dubs Amendment category.

Two ways you can help now

1. Contact your local council to ask them what - under the Lord Dubs' Amendment to Parliament's Immigration Act earlier this year - they are doing about committing to taking some of the unaccompanied child refugees that the UK has pledged to take under that Act. (Up to 3000 was the figure and as yet not one single refugee child has arrived under this scheme.) Ask your council what provisions they are making for them - several London Councils have made strong commitments already. This could also be strengthened also by contacting any faith leaders and asking them to bring pressure to bear. 

2. The second action is to lobby your MP to ask what he/she is doing to urge Government to honour the commitments made under the Dubs Amendment and get a move on with bringing these children over, before the camp eviction renders them homeless and extremely vulnerable therefore to traffickers who encircle Calais. Last time the camp was partially evicted In March this year, 129 children went missing off the radar.  Four children have now died attempting to reach the UK on lorries, the last died last weekend when he was thrown from a lorry and was hit by several vehicles, who did not stop. He was 14 and had a brother here in the UK so was legally entitled to be here.

HIGHGATE HAS HEART TAKES PART IN REFUGEES WELCOME MARCH

A group from HIghgate Has heart joined the Refugees Welcome march in London

A group from HIghgate Has heart joined the Refugees Welcome march in London

One of the most moving banners of the march - from a Bristol campaigner

One of the most moving banners of the march - from a Bristol campaigner

Juliet Stevenson asks "How many more children have to die before we step up to our responsibilities to get them over safely and legally?"

Juliet Stevenson asks "How many more children have to die before we step up to our responsibilities to get them over safely and legally?"

Lord Dubs urges the crowds in Parliament Square to take action: "There is only one thing that is shifting this government and that is the force of public opinion and that means you."

Lord Dubs urges the crowds in Parliament Square to take action: "There is only one thing that is shifting this government and that is the force of public opinion and that means you."

8-year old refugee from Syria says how happy he is to be in the UK and hoped others will be lucky too.

8-year old refugee from Syria says how happy he is to be in the UK and hoped others will be lucky too.

Douglas Booth speaks out for solidarity with refugees.

Douglas Booth speaks out for solidarity with refugees.

A group from Highgate Has Heart took part in the Refugees Welcome March in London on September 17th. Tens of thousands from all over the country came to express their support for welcoming refugees into the UK, chanting. "Say it loud, Say it clear, Refugees are welcome here." We were proud to hear Juliet Stevenson giving one of the keynote speeches in Parliament Square, along with Alf Dubs, the actor Douglas Booth and an 8-year old refugee boy rescued from near-suffocation after a terrifying transit from Calais in the back of a lorry. 

First foot forwards in Highgate Woods Bootcamp

On your marks, get set, crawl!

On your marks, get set, crawl!

Highgate Has Heart raised nearly £500 in a fund-raising  boot camp which took place at Highgate Woods on Saturday 17th. A hearty thanks to James Hutchinson and Nick Palma, owners of pH7, a personal training studio on Archway Road for giving up their time to run the session and leading us through some challenging but fun exercises aimed at all ages and levels.   There was great feedback and everyone seemed to have a fun time, even though there were a few sore bodies the next day!