Last Friday was our final session in Eastbourne funded by Public Health. Since September we have run The Community Table in this vibrant, busy space; alongside training sessions for volunteers, many of whom are people seeking asylum and refugees.
Greeted warmly by everyone there, we physically joined our table to the beautifully run existing art table. The space was less busy as Sanctuary has sadly lost several volunteers due to the closure of Home Office hotels and the move of residents to other parts of the country: with more closures pending.
A young man, interested in photography and filmmaking, sat in the warmth, hood up and backpack on throughhout the hour or so he was with us. Fascinated by mountain images, he talked about how they mostly made him feel happy, stirring memories of home and sunshine, catching the world from different heights and perspectives.
He eventually made an animated film on his phone which attracted others who watched with interest. One man asked for an animation demonstration and downloaded the app we use onto his phone. He videoed the demo so that, poignantly, he could send this to his wife and 5 year old son back home in Iran, for all three to learn how to make these short films and exchange them with each other.
Friday meant a big goodbye for Sanctuary to a longstanding member who has been moved to the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset, leaving his large accomplished signed portrait painting in Sanctuary.
In turn, as we attended the usual Sanctuary team debrief and closing circle, a beautiful series of cards - one side cyanotypes of feathers and the other with messages of welcome and hope - was presented to us as a thank you and goodbye gift for others to engage with at The Community Table in its next setting, With this we will be thinking of everyone we have worked with, who kept the table interesting, interactive and in motion. Thanks to all at Sanctuary, particularly @elizabethbetsydoak for the cards and all her support.