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Lib Dem leader speaks out on refugees’ ‘death-defying’ journeys

21 September 2015

New Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has met refugees given life-changing help by the British Red Cross.

On Saturday, the first day of the party’s conference in Bournemouth, Farron stopped off at a Red Cross arts workshop for refugees in nearby Poole.

About 20 refugees who have been supported by the Red Cross are working with professional artists in the area. They are making work for an exhibition at the local arts centre, Lighthouse, in January 2016.

The classes are a way for the refugees to express some of their traumatic stories – a few of which were shared with Farron during his visit.

Working hard to help

Farron spoke for a long time with a Sudanese couple who are both doctors.

Amir fled the Darfur region of Sudan in 2012, when his life was in danger. He was able to bring over his family a few months later, and now lives in the UK with wife Wegdan and their five young children.

Amir is working hard to improve his English and pass General Medical Council exams. He is keen to use his skills and expertise to help people in the UK.

After speaking to other refugee families, and hearing about their different routes to safety, Farron said: “Nobody’s going to risk their life without a jolly good reason – and they did not take these dangerous, death-defying journeys to sit and scrounge benefits."

Jamie Piriou, Red Cross refugee service manager for the area, added: "It’s great to have Tim Farron visit our community art project to hear Amir and his family’s story – and see first-hand the contribution that refugees are making in Bournemouth."

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Learn more about Amir's story and how he ended up in the UK.

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