The target is 20,000 Syrians: as Refugee Week comes around again, Hackney council has housed 16 Syrians

SIXTEEN SYRIANS in a total of four families have now been settled in Hackney by the council. 

The first family arrived in the borough almost a year ago, under the scheme  announced in September 2015 by the regime of David Cameron (whom you may just remember) to resettle “up to” 20,000 Syrians in the UK over the following five years.

The first three families to arrive have, Loving Dalston has exclusively learnt, settled in well. The adults are attending English classes, as are the children at school.

The fourth family, which arrived this month June 2017, is starting the programme of support and orientation that the others received. A fifth family is to be brought to Hackney at the end of the month.

Rebecca Rennison, Hackney’s homelessness councillor, commented: “Hackney is proud of its history as a place of sanctuary for refugees. Hackney’s strength is in its diversity.”

How does the council’s action to help Syrians stand up elsewhere? Figures are hard to obtain but Lambeth council, for example, has arranged accommodation for nine families and aims to accommodate up to 23 families altogether.

fugees: memorial to refugees from Turkey to Greece @ Spitalfields Brushfield St 250517 © david.altheer[ a t]
This sculpture at Spitalfields includes a boat that carried seven refugees. And Londoners get anxious when a bus is a few minutes late

The figures emerge at an apt time: Refugee Week starts on Monday 19 June 2017. The sub-title talks about “celebrating” our “shared future” with refugees, a cheery sentiment that is perhaps a little premature when some councils are sharing very little.

Still, no news outlet has been pressing Hackney council more than Loving Dalston, so whatever the wording, the intention sits well with this site. Press the following link for activities around the country. And here are some Hackney-and-around events:

Refugeesign opp Dalston Junction overground station, Dalston Lane, London E8 060316 © DavidAltheer [at]
A sign that lasted a few weeks opposite Dalston Junction station

London Fields

* Screentalk with Team Faizy, a documentary about asylum-seeker Ajmal Faizy, fighting for a boxing world title and the right to stay in the UK.

After the film, director Anton Yavorsky and a panel of “experts” (their word, not mine) will answer questions from the audience: Institute of Light, 376 Helmsley Place, London Fields E8 3SB, Thurs 22 June 2017, 8.30pm; reserve free tickets here. Trailer 


* Love Music, Hate Racism pub gig. At the Victoria, 451 Queensbridge Road, Dalston E8 3AS, 8pm-late, Sat 24 June 2017, 8pm, £3 (concessions)-£5

City of London

* Singing  Our Lives. Music and dance inspired by refugee and migrant stories. At Milton Court concert hall, Silk Street, Barbican EC2Y 9BH, Sun 2 July (sic) 2017, 6pm. Reserve free tickets via

Syrian "souk" at Rich Mix Shoreditch London EC4 060915 ©
A “souk” at Rich Mix in Shoreditch to raise funds for Syrians

Further afield (not part of Refugee Week)

* The Lost Men of Syria, photographs by journalist Edward Jonkler, Education Room, Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, Kings Road SW3 4RY, Wed 19 July-Wed 9 Aug 2017, 10am-6pm daily, free.

David Altheer 170617

* Backstory: Why Hackney is holding back; Hackney demands more money to house Syrians; Pussy Riot flies to Hackney for refugees; Hackney Hive opens refugee aid drop-off; Hackney demands more money

* All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer [at] (apart from main pic) and are for sale for reproduction. Most photographs are available in bigger formats

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