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Steve Reed MP joins Christmas celebration for refugees

Steve Reed MP joined Palace for Life Foundation trainee Jamil Smith and 120 asylum seekers at a Christmas party to bring people together at Christmas time.

The MP for Croydon North Steve Reed was the guest of honour at a festive celebration for refugees and asylum seekers organised by Palace for Life Foundation trainee Jamil Smith.

Taking place at the Salvation Army in Thornton Heath on Saturday 14 December, the party was the result of months of careful planning by 20-year-old Jamil and other members of the Thornton Heath community.

Steve Reed MP, who joined the celebration after being re-elected to represent Croydon North for a fourth time, said: “This wonderful party brought together our community with recently arrived refugees who have escaped war or persecution in their own countries.  It was heart-warming to see them being welcomed with food, gifts and entertainment after all they’ve been through.  This really was the true spirit of Christmas in action and I can’t thank the organisers enough.”

Croydon local Jamil, who is currently enrolled on Palace for Life’s Work Ready and Prepared and Talent Match programmes, won a London Youth grant to help make his dream a reality and was able to orchestrate a wonderful afternoon for 120 refugees and asylum seekers.

Speaking about the day, Jamil said: “I’m really proud to have been able to bring together so many asylum seekers. I feel it’s so important to bring people together at Christmas and to make people happy. Given the challenges that asylum seekers face, to be able to bring a day of happiness to them is amazing.”

On the day, guests were treated to food, drinks, lots of festive games and even a visit from Santa, with gifts for everyone who attended. Norbury Fire Service were also in attendance to meet and greet members of the local community.

Jamil worked closely with Palace for Life coach Pat Gordon and Van Dang from the Thornton Heath Community Action Team to bring the event together. He was also supported by staff and residents from Brigstock House as well as many local businesses.

Palace for Life Foundation’s Pat Gordon added: “Jamil has worked really hard and put in many hours to make it such a success. It’s so pleasing to see all the progress he has made in his time with us and Jamil should be really proud of his achievements.

“On behalf of Palace for Life, I’d like to thank Steve for coming today and everyone at Thornton Heath Community Action and the Salvation Army for their commitment to making an important and long-lasting difference for refugees in the Croydon area.”

13 June 2023


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