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Photo: Billy Collins

‘Pangaea’: a personal response to refugees arriving on our beaches

‘Pangaea’, conceived as a club night of global sounds to raise money for Hastings Supports Refugees (HSR), was Jaen Loftin‘s personal response “to the arrival of traumatised refugees on the beaches where I live, it was such a reality check. Women and children fleeing war and terror arriving here on our beaches”. Pangaea raised not only awareness of this situation, but over £1,200 too. HOT’s Zelly Restorick asked Jaen some questions about the event and Polly Gifford tells us about HSR. All photos: Billy Collins.

Tell us about ‘Pangaea’.

“I chose the name ‘Pangaea’, as it’s a reference to a once supercontinent,” explains Jaen. “It literally means the entire or whole Mother Earth, before and beyond borders.

“People were incredibly supportive. We had DJ Galego, from the former African music collective, Mogadisco, based in London, come and play; Hastings’ Remi Vibesman from Hidden Beach – and Julian Humphries’ Samba band, the YYPPFDs.  We also had a guest appearance from Nana Tsiboe, who has played with Fela Kuti and campaigned with Martin Luther King. We were able to use the incredible Printworks as a venue – and many local shops, restaurants and professional individuals gave so generously to the raffle, from tattooists to opera singers. The raffle alone raised £500 and the total amount raised in the end came to over £1,200.

“It was a night of incredible Brazilian and African sounds, ending with Bob Marley’s One Love – and was such a success that I’m planning a ‘Pangaea 2’ in the summer.”

Photo: Billy Collins

Tell us about Hastings Supports Refugees (HSR): How long has it been going? Who started it? Why was it started?

“HSR started in 2015 as a reaction to the crisis that was unfolding for refugees in Europe, including the awful scenes from the Calais Jungle and the death of Alan Kurdi in the Mediterranean,” explains Polly Gifford. “A small group of women came together around a kitchen table and started a Facebook group to coordinate collections. Our online following is now over 5,000 people.”

Photo Billy Collins

What will the funds raised be used for? 

“Much of what we raise goes to support grassroots organisations working on the ground with refugees in France, Greece, Afghanistan and most recently in and around Ukraine. We have built close ties with trusted organisations – such as Refugee Byriani & Bananas – who we know will use people’s donations wisely.

“We also support activity here in Hastings and East Sussex, including the Links Project, who have been offering support and advice to people seeking asylum in the area for many years, and the Refugee Buddy Project, who supported people with no recourse to public funds over the Christmas period.

“100% of people’s donations to HSR get passed on to organisations like these and we constantly monitor where we think funds will have the most impact.”

Photo: Billy Collins

How can people help if they want to get involved?

“Both HSR – and sister organisation Hastings Community of Sanctuary – are run by volunteers and we really welcome new people getting involved. We’re planning an open meeting on Wednesday 20 April for people who’d like to find out more. We’re just finalising details, which will be posted on our social media and on Hastings City of Sanctuary website.”

Photo: Billy Collins

How does HSR support refugees?

“In addition to the above, HSR and HCoS set up an emergency response team last year to provide immediate assistance to refugees arriving on our beaches in small boats or rescued at sea by the amazing RNLI. Without recourse to safe and legal routes, increasing numbers of people are desperate enough to try the dangerous Channel crossing (although overall numbers arriving were down last year). We wait to see what demand there will be for that humanitarian assistance as we move into spring.”

Photo: Billy Collins

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Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 17:58 Friday, Mar 25, 2022 In: Campaigns

1 Comment

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  1. Mike

    They’re not refugees. Please stop being so naive. Women and children from Ukraine are refugees from war, not young men “fleeing” from Fance…..

    Comment by Mike — Friday, Apr 1, 2022 @ 21:21

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