Tag Archives: Assist

Promoting Sunday’s Events and Appealing for Lemlem

16 Jul

Lemlem with Legends storyteller Roisin

Today 3 RASAG members took to the airwaves of Sheffield Live to promote the Sharrow Flea Market, Chef of the Year competition and Big Lunch.  We also discussed the Summer of Sanctuary, City of Sanctuary and made an appeal for people to sign Lemlem’s petition and bring her back to Sheffield where she belongs.

You can listen back on the show at


Please sign Lemlem’s petition at


Letter/ email template to send to the home office for Lemlem


And please come along to the flea market/ big lunch/ chef of the year competition on Sunday at the Old Junior School, South View Road, Sharrow…  Lots of entertainment for adults and kids, tasty treats by RASAG and our neighborhood chefs and a great day in store for all.


Bring Lemlem back to Sheffield

15 Jul

Please sign this petition to get Lem Lem out of detention and back in Sheffield where she belongs.

Lemlem was born in 1950 in what is now Eritrea. In 1978 her village was burned down and her entire family was murdered during an attack by Ethiopian forces. Her family and neighbours were targeted due to their support for the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), which was fighting for independence from Ethiopia.

The Home Office is currently planning to deport Lemlem to Ethiopia. This is despite the fact that she has never lived in Ethiopia and has no contacts there. Her age and disability (a very bad limp and eyesight problems) mean that she would be unable to obtain work and support herself in a new country. She would have no means of earning a living and no support whatsoever in Ethiopia and the language spoken is not her first language. Lemlem is furthermore a member of the ELF, which Ethiopia has been at war with.

Lemlem is a lovely woman with a positive outlook on life, despite the awful hand that she has been dealt.  Lemlem is part of RASAG and took part in the Legends project – it was great to see her taking to the stage, singing and interacting with the group and the community.   At RASAG we really miss Lemlem and just want her back here with us in Sheffield where she belongs.  Please click on the link below to sign Lemlem’s petition – 1 minute of your time could mean the world to her.

Lemlem must stay!

We, the undersigned, ask you to halt the deportation of Lemlem and grant her indefinite leave to remain in the UK, so that she finally has somewhere safe she can call home…

You can also join the facebook group to show your support for Lemlem


Festival Legends

5 Jul

Six members of RASAG turned out on Saturday to perform at Gleadless Valley International Festival and Sharrow Fringe Festival.   We entertained festival goers with varied content including our resident Iranian artist’s “Hello Salaam” song which calls for Freedom for everyone and a sad story which ends with the teller being left in the middle of nowhere with a dead child in a suitcase…

Performing at Sharrow Festival

At both festivals the MC’s introduction left alot to be desired, but we attracted a respectable ammount of people and made it clear who we were, what the aim of our group was, that we were funded by Summer of Sanctuary and what that initiative is all about.

As usual, Firas was the star of the group, telling his own stories with confidence and ease.  Everyone put in a great performance however, joining in the singing and drumming and supporting each other on the stage.  It was great to see colleagues and students from Learn For Life where the RASAG group formed supporting us in the crowd.


These performances have taken us to the end of our Summer of Sanctuary funding which has been used very successfully to engage over 20 refugees and asylum seekers over the entire project, with at least 15 more expressing an interest in taking part but not being able to this time around.  Out of the 15 expected to attend the workshop nine made it on the day made up of six men and three women and a fabulous seven different nationalities.  Only one of the workshop attendees never performed and this was very understandable due to immigration issues – he told me he had cried when he saw the pictures of performances that he had not been able to attend and he was truly missed on every occassion that we performed.  However, as we accomadated people who had not been able to attend the workshop but wanted to be involved in performances, we had 11 different performers over our seven performances – a very pleasing turnout!

Legends has acheived a lot on many different levels, but the most notable and pleasing changes in the participants are the unquantifiable “soft skills” – from responding to the compere at the Assist Concert shouting “how are you feeling?” with “Confident!”, to a member who felt isolated realising that he now has friends – these things may not be measurable, but they are so valuable.

The Legends exhibition will be available to view at the RASAG Big Lunch which is happening on 18th July at the Sharrow Old Junior School in collaboration with the Summer Flea Market and Sharrow Chef of the Year – more on that to follow soon.


Details of both the RASAG Big Lunch and the overall event can be found on page 11 of July’s Sharrow Today.



29 Jun

As the Legends Project approaches the finale of this leg of it’s journey, appearances at Gleadless Valley and Sharrow festivals, it seems that the time to take stock is nigh…

Legends kicked off with a workshop on the 18th July and despite complications including court appearances, fork lift truck driving lessons, hospital appointments and illness, we had a marvelous time with singing, dancing and lots of storytelling!

Activities that we worked on included a storytelling circle where  we took turns in sitting in “the magic chair” and telling a story to the rest of the group – everyone chose their own tale and did this exercise by themselves – something many would not have felt confident to do at the start of the day.

The magic chair was the place to tell stories!

We also asked people to take a piece of flipchart paper to a quiet corner and write or draw something they would like to tell about.  This produced some fabulous results that formed the basis of our exhibition.  As I had hoped in the planning stages of the project, this allowed people to express feelings and ideas that reflected on the refugee and asylum seeker experience, with people sharing elements of the story of how they escaped their country and feelings about the injustice of their struggle for freedom.  There were also funny personal anecdotes and stories which expressed a dilemma, calling on the addressee to answer questions about morality and due cause…

We put the written stories on the wall and discussed them

We took a break to enjoy a meal together and stories continued to bound across the table, with magic amulets and language being particularly strong topics!

The next day some of the participants and our professional storyteller Roisin Murray set up a gazebo at Heeley Festival and entertained adults and children with our stories.

In the evening we went on stage at Assist’s One World Over Concert, where we enjoyed explaining the project, singing a song and telling some stories – the group felt great and really elated after this event!

On Monday 21st June the group entertained audiences at Central and Ecclessall library and we showed an exhibition of stories and photo’s which was of great interest to the attendants.

The exhibition of stories and pictures was well received in the libraries

After a week in the storytelling wilderness RASAG was out in force at the Heeley Institute Variety is the Spice of Life community lunch yesterday.  Nine participants entertained an audience of over 50 people with songs, stories and more stories!  City of Sanctuary’s film maker Andrew was there and we are all very excited to see the results of his filming.  This was our greatest event so far and the participants really came into their own, taking center stage and proving the personal growth that’s been achieved through the Legends project.  The aim of the Legends project was to give people a voice and to help them to interact with the community and it was a source of great pride to see this in action.

Next on the agenda for Legends are appearances at Gleadless Valley Festival on Saturday 3rd June at 11.50 and on Sharrow Festival’s Community Stage on the same day at 1.15.  If the Heeley Institute appearance is anything to go by, we’re going to take the crowd by storm!

Together at Devonshire Green

13 Jun

The launch of the Summer of Sanctuary  got a good old British summer soaking, but was a success nonetheless.  The quality of the acts was immense and we were treated to break dancing, flamenco and Temple music inspired Indian dance among other things.  Cool Runnings were there doling out tasty plates of curried mutton, chicken and ackee and saltfish, and FURD were in full effect with a TV showing the match and a much coveted football.   When the kids had finished decorrating the FURD gazebo with their rice and peas and I’d decided we were wet and muddy enough for one day, we set off leaving the die hards and volunteers to enjoy a kick about and some energetic rain dancing.  Unlike the sunshine, the Lord Mayor did put in an appearance, which I took as my cue to distribute the measley remains of the Legends flyers, with ubiquitous explanation of who RASAG are and what we are trying to do.

Although the Legends leaflet is now finished, to be revamped and reprinted tomorrow, I received in return a juicy stack of glossy flyers of the type RASAG can only dream of, for the Assist World Over Concert 2010, at which we are very proud to be performing, 19th June, Montgomory Hall, Surry Street Sheffield (http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/node/689)  Assist and Summer of Sanctuary’s Dan Stanley also gave me 15 free tickets for Legend’s non-performers to be able to attend the concert, which is really great.  The all-new Legend’s flyer is going to look great paired up with the World Over’s sleek number!

Togther was a positive event with a diverse mix of volunteers and attendees, all of whom came together to celebrate the Summer of Sanctuary’s ethos “Different Pasts, Shared Futures”.  Unfortunately, today’s typically British summer weather meant that it was more of a case of “Differents Pasts, Soggy Present”…  However, the Summer of Sanctuary and Refugee Week 2010 are now underway – so here we go, RASAG’s Legends coming soon!

Performances and picnic

9 Jun

Legends storytelling group will be performing at

Heeley Festival Sat, 19/06/2010 all day in a gazebo

One World Over Sat, 19/06/2010 – 19:00 – 22:00. In Aid of ASSIST, at the Montgomery Hall, Surrey St (by the big wheel)

Central Library Surrey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 1XZ, 12.30 – 1.30 Mon 28/06/2010

Ecclesall Library 120 Ecclesall Road South, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 9PL, 5.30 – 6.30 Mon 28/06/2010


The RASAG/Big Lunch picnic will now be held at Sharrow Summer Flea Market, Old Junior School, South View Road Sheffield S7 1DB on 12 – 5 pm, 18/07/2010