Syrian refugees visit Cumbria
A group of Syrian and Iranian refugees have spent a week at Rydal Hall.
The project, a partnership between the Hall and the Refugee Council, brought 8 refugees to Rydal to work on the famous Thomas Mawson garden. The group won the hearts of the Rydal Hall team. “They were such lovely people, it was a pleasure to be with them,” said Martin Scrowston, Estates Manager.
The group have been re-settled around Leeds and West Yorkshire and the week long working visit to Rydal gave them a chance to get to know each other and practice their English – often a barrier to finding employment – and gain some valuable work experience.
During their stay they prepared the flower beds in the formal garden for the next planting and cleaned the fountain.
Kate Jackson, Rydal Hall’s gardener said, “All of the group were experienced in horticulture and agriculture and it showed in the quality of their work. Two had been gardeners in Damascus and they told me about how they looked after their public gardens. It was fascinating and we learned a lot from each other.”
Grasmere School hosted an evening of music for the group, where they met parents of the school children and shared a meal together.
On the last evening, the group made a traditional Syrian meal for the Rydal Hall team, which was greatly appreciated.
The Refugee Council was delighted by the visit and more are being planned for the future, including one for families and children which will involve therapeutic gardening and help for children traumatised by the experiences they have been through.