In 1968 Denise Keenan from St. Augustine’s Church here in Park Ward, began running a pre-school play group. She and a small team of volunteers extended this to community lunches, English classes and social activities in response to local need. When Calderdale became a dispersal area for people seeking asylum in the early 2000’s we started to support people who had arrived locally to settle into life in the UK.
In 2009 St Augustine’s Centre became an independent charity, continually evolving and welcoming all, regardless of faith, ethnicity or background. Now Calderdale’s specialist charity working with people seeking asylum and refugees as well as local people, we have 16 staff, 170 volunteers and a community of 650 individuals and families from 57 countries.
We offer specialist advice on immigration and asylum support, and one to one support with welfare, housing, health and access to wider services. We provide hot meals, English language classes, training, cultural, social and wellbeing activities, trips and volunteering opportunities. We offer spaces for reflection and a befriending and integration service. As a core member of the Valley of Sanctuary, we want to share stories and build awareness about the experience for those fleeing war and persecution, advocating and campaigning locally and nationally.
52 years on, Denise still volunteers at St Augustines.
Working together as people from across the world, we celebrate and build a diverse community where everyone is welcome and supported. From our vibrant community centre in Park Ward, we respond to needs, learn from and share with one another, to live well and challenge inequality.
is that asylum seekers and refugees become part of Calderdale life, and alongside our local community in Park Ward, are able to feel safe and empowered.