Words and pictures by Judy Rogers, our People and the DALES community worker:
“Earlier this week I took a group of refugees and asylum seekers for a walk around Swinsty reservoir. Living in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales I rarely visit this neck of the woods, but have often wondered what the reservoirs that are dissected by the A59 are like as I drive to Harrogate. Last week my son and I did a recce of the walk around the reservoirs and were thrilled to see a few cormorants resting on some tree trunks. And this week with the group we were not disappointed as we saw yet more cormorants, Canada geese, crested grebe and a mob of mallards.
The group included ten young men from Leeds who were mostly asylum seekers supported by a project called PAFRAS. Each of them came from a different African country and each of them are waiting for their applications for refugee status to be reviewed and are hoping for the right to remain in this country. Whilst waiting they receive no benefits and so have to live with support from projects like PAFRAS, friends or churches. Days out offered through our People and the DALES project allows them to get away from the city and forget about their problems for just one day.
The walk took us over the dam between Fewston and Swinsty and up to the newly built Heritage Centre next to Fewston church. Here Cheri the church warden and Anne the Centre manager welcomed us into the church and provided us with tea, biscuits and chat. Thank you Cheri and Anne for making us feel so welcome.
We continued on our walk past Swinsty Hall remarking at the dam at the end of the lake and the huge pipes taking water to Leeds. The trees have been fantastic this time of year. Some say it is because we haven’t had the high winds which so often strip the leaves off trees in October. As we walked the men asked about wild animals and were saddened to hear we have no big game, although they were surprised to hear about the adder – our only deadly snake!”
Filed under: People and the Dales, YDMT Autumn 2012 | Tagged: canada geese, cormorants, crested grege, Fewston Heritage Centre, Harrogate, outreach, PAFRAS, People and the Dales, swinsty reservoir, Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust | Leave a comment »