A CHEQUE for £5,173 was presented at a special Eid fund-raising dinner organised to welcome the very first Syrian refugee family to the area earlier this month.
The event, at Redditch Town Hall, featured a raffle prize draw, adding an extra £239 to bring the figure closer to the £6,000 target set by members of the Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcomes Refugees Committee.
The cash will be used to help refugees settle into the area when they arrive.
The event at the town hall began with a drinks reception, henna tattoo session and Syrian music.
There was also an Indian buffet and speeches from Redditch Mayor Joe Baker and Bromsgrove resident and Redditch Borough Council leader Bill Harnett.
In his speech, Coun Baker said: “Many of us, including myself, have been ridiculed and challenged for our support for refugees, where people have said charity begins at home, what about the homeless in our country, what about our ex-servicemen and other charities?
“Why are you not helping them?
“I know for a fact many of us in this room have given our time to other causes.
“But there is a large room in the world and that is the room within our hearts to help as many people as we can. So I challenge these people to ask themselves – how can I open my heart to help those in need?”
Coun Hartnett said he began many of his speeches by welcoming those gathered and the sentiments of that could not be more appropriate when it came to talking about refugees.
Referring to the family of Syrian refugees in the room, he added: “I am really pleased that our new friends can be here with us tonight.”
Rubery resident and former Bromsgrove Green Party Candidate and Birmingham Poet Laureate Spoz was at the event and delivered a moving poem about his experience at the Calais refugee camp.
Activist Josh Yeng also spoke about his experience of volunteering at the Greek refugee camp in Idomeni. By the end of the night there were competing bids for a large basket of fruit, which Josh won and donated to the Syrian family.