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Residents from different countries and backgrounds came together in Gleadless at the weekend to find out more about their neighbours. City of Sanctuary organised the event with Gleadless Valley Community Forum after some local refugee families reported incidents of harrassment by local youths.

The ‘Valley Social’ was planned as a way of helping different parts of the community learn more about each other and where they come from. Gleadless is home to a number of refugee and migrant families as well as asylum seekers, and includes people of Iranian, Kurdish, Zimbabwean, Polish and Burmese Karen origin.

About 100 people turned up at the tenants’ Hall where they heard how Sheffield’s Karen community came here for refuge after being persecuted in Burma. There was also a dramatised dialogue about the asylum system, craft activities for young people, and an array of hot dishes provided by local people and refugee communities.

The event was funded by a local resident and the Community Assembly, and organised in partnership with Sheffield mediation service MESH, Development Education Council (DECSY), Art in the Park and others. It ended with a mass dance led by a Kurdish band. There’s to be a follow-up meeting at the Tenants Hall at 10am on Saturday December 4th.