A guest post by Leonie Hart.

In celebration of Refugee Week 2016, Bearwood Action for Refugees hosted a JAMATHON on Sunday 19 June at Thimblemill Library. The event was in aid of Leros Solidarity Network, who support refugees in transit in Greece, and Bearwood turned out in force to support the cause raising a total of over £1500. Ten acts played over eight hours including 4 ‘jams’ where the audience could grab an instrument and join the professionals. There was food, cake, crafts and craftivism and even an auction where the audience could bid for one of the bands to play in their very own sitting room.

The JAMATHON line-up included former Duran Duran frontman Andrew Wickett, the inaugural performance of Birmingham Comedians Choir, The Strangest Feeling, The Bearwood Bandits, Holly Thomas, Phil Lewis, David Blower, Minnie, and Amelia Wallace, plus local refugee organisation Brushstrokes’ community choir AFSCS.

Formed in Autumn 2015 in response to the refugee crisis, Bearwood Action for Refugees work with the local community to raise funds and awareness to help refugees across Europe and in the local community. Their initial appeal for donations to Calais last September saw 15 car loads of essential items going to refugees in need from the local Bearwood community and they raised over £1600 for refugees fleeing conflict in Syria in their first three months fundraising. They are currently working with Brushstrokes Sandwell to deliver training courses for local people interested in refugee issues or those who might want to get more involved in helping local refugees and asylum seekers.

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