Mansfield Theatre and Museum to welcome Sanctuary Seekers in new project

Mansfield Museum entrance photo

Mansfield Museum and Mansfield Palace Theatre has announced they will become a safe space of welcome for refugees and people fleeing Ukraine as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The Museum and Theatre, which are run by Mansfield District Council, are offering chances for refugees to meet and socialise and also take part in a creative heritage project to record their stories. 

Every Thursday, from 12 May, Mansfield Museum will host a Sanctuary Cafe, from 12noon to 2.30pm.

It is the first of its kind in Mansfield and offers local sanctuary seekers and refugees a chance to meet  for a cuppa and a biscuit, board games and opportunities to discover more about the history of Mansfield.

Ukrainians, and those housed as part of the Afghan resettlement scheme, will also have the chance to share their experiences and heritage in a new project which will collect oral histories to preserve their stories, memories, feelings and attitudes.  

Meanwhile the council's Cultural Services team is also offering other opportunities for refugees to integrate with local people in the community by getting involved in volunteer and support group activities at the museum and theatre.

These include becoming a Welcome Volunteer, as part of the Palace Theatre's Front of House team, which involves greeting customers with a friendly smile and helping visitors find their seats.

Refugee women are also being invited to join the Creative Women Together project, which aims to give women who have experienced hardship a positive creative experience.

Executive Mayor of Mansfield Andy Abrahams said: "Our Museum and Theatre are ready to welcome anyone seeking sanctuary in Mansfield with open doors and open hearts by being a safe space to meet, relax and be creative.

"Mansfield has a unique history, which we want to share with our new residents. Refugees and asylum seekers have an extraordinary spirit each with a rich culture, so we’d love to hear more about their country and heritage, too.’

Sian Booth, Cultural Services Manager added: "You don’t need to be able to speak English to enjoy events in the theatre or explore museum. Everyone is welcome.

"We have a culture of kindness here, and we understand everyone has a unique story to tell. We invite all our sanctuary seekers in Mansfield to treat this place as their home."

Signs around the theatre and museum have been updated to include several languages. For more information email Sian Booth, Cultural Services Manager at Mansfield District Council (link opens email app).

Published: May 9th 2022