Young asylum seekers arriving from war-torn Syria and other troubled parts of the world will be helped to blend into in their new surroundings thanks to kind-hearted Teesside churchgoers.

More than 70 pairs of trainers were donated, as well as £300 in cash, after an appeal in Catholic churches in Redcar, Marske and Saltburn. The collection began after Ailsa Adamson, manager of the Methodist Asylum Project, visited Catholic social action group Redcar and Cleveland Caritas to talk about her work.

“Ailsa suggested that one practical way of the Caritas group helping and supporting would be to try to collect some trainers,” said CUF’s Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland Development Officer Terry Doyle.

“Many of the asylum seekers are young and like to wear trainers. There’s a football programme set up with the MFC Foundation and that’s going well but a lot of the lads don’t have suitable footwear. They also like to blend in and wear the same kind of thing young people born and bred on Teesside would be wearing.”

Students at the Sacred Heart Secondary School in Redcar designed posters which were displayed in the churches and parishioners responded generously.

“There’s a lot of negative publicity out there and this is a good news story about the integration of asylum seekers into our community and people helping them to live with dignity,” said Terry. “It’s good for local faith groups to assist in this vital work of ‘Welcoming the Stranger’ into our communities wherever possible.”

Year nine students Casey Armstrong, Michael Kelly, Ben Fernley, Nathan Grimwood, Cameron Heathcock, Connor Power, Daniel Gunn, Hannah Bennett-Hogg, Brooke Dowey, Molly Reilly and Elizabeth Freeney helped design the posters.

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