Going Beyond Borders

Going Beyond Borders

Blurry images are a good thing in this case – privacy is important here.

What an extra-ordinary evening!

Music really does have the power to destroy barriers. At the invitation of Beyond Borders Totnes  Bev and I went over to our nearest seaside town where a large number of refugees are incarcerated, stored, retained, kept, awaiting processing for citizenship of the UK.

This is lifted directly from Beyond Borders: “Plymouth is a Home Office ‘dispersal’ city, where asylum seekers and refugees are allocated temporary accommodation while their applications are processed – this can take years. BBT&D have been able to channel a range of local support through official Plymouth refugee and asylum seeker organisations and to some individuals.

Through local events and initiatives, we build awareness about the realities asylum seekers and refugees face.”

We (took ages to) setup (!) and played for about an hour and a half. The reception was as warm as the searing room temperature with dancing breaking out throughout the large knackered hotel reception area. We had a set-list of sorts, but it seemed mean to break the up-tempo mood and pretty much abandoned it in favour of lively up-beat music. The response from everyone was slightly overwhelming.

It’s impossible to know, for us anyway, what these refugees have been through and what they’ve lost to the point where they are plonked into an inhospitable hotel with a security team on reception. They have 8 pounds pocket money a week and are not allowed to earn any cash elsewhere. They are fed with extremely basic food in a holiday seaside town that probably isn’t the most welcoming overall.

So having the opportunity to bring some life to otherwise quiet evenings was an honour for us. As we packed up, we were engulfed by joy, happyness and more selfies than we could count. There was hugging and the humanity was overflowing.


Sincere thanks go to Jill Lewis and the Beyond Borders team for enabling the event and for all the truly fantastic work they are doing.



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