Working at sea for so many years, really opened my eyes to the different cultures outside of our western bubble. I regularly went on organised volunteering activities in places where we could provide support/entertainment/gifts and fell in love with volunteering. It left me knowing that so much more could be done, and so while working at sea, I created an Initiative for Princess Cruises with a heavy emphasis on giving back to the communities we visited while caring for the environment.
When the pandemic stopped everything in its tracks, the industry I worked in no longer existed, and it forced me to take stock and really look at how I wanted to spend my time. My sister had been very engaged in researching and educating herself about the refugee crisis, and how we could help. After discussing it together, we knew we wanted to be part of a group that took action.
We know Richard, who is a member of the Bermondsey Refugees, and he invited us in to join, and although I’m new to the group I am impressed and in awe of all of the work that has already taken place to secure a smooth transition for a family to re-settle here in the UK.
It really is amazing to connect with so many different people, all with different skills and knowledge, and come together with a shared goal in mind. I’m hoping my communication and organisation skills will come in handy, as well as my years working with people from so many different walks of life.
I have come into the group with an open mind and heart, to do as much as I can to be an active member of Bermondsey Welcomes Refugees. The thing I really love about the group, is that there is so much care and emphasis on the well-being of the family once they get here, creating a full support network so that their transition to a new way of life will be as easy as possible for them.
I'm really proud to be a part of this group and encourage anyone, who has a little extra time on their hands and an inkling to give back, to reach out to their local community group or even start their own!