Sleep out highlights the plight of refugees during Christian Aid Week

Monday May 22nd 2017

David Thomas, Helen Newell, Rosamond Bennett and Deborah Doherty of Christian Aid Ireland with Church representatives; Canon Mark Niblock, Rt Rev Dr Frank Sellar, Fr Martin Magill, Rev Brian Anderson and Rev Richard Johnston. Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

Representatives of different churches in Northern Ireland helped launch Christian Aid Week on Friday May 12 in Buoy Park beside St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.

This 60th Christian Aid Week was marked by a ‘sleep out’ in Belfast city centre to remember the millions of people worldwide who have been forced from home by conflict.

The overseas aid organisation was joined by members of the public for the sleep out in the park from 12pm on Friday May 12 to 12pm on Saturday May 13 in solidarity with the millions of people who have fled violence and war.

Christian Aid Week, which this year highlighted the refugee crisis, ran until Saturday May 20, with house-to-house collections and fundraising events taking place across the country.  

Launching Christian Aid Week, Rosamond Bennett, CEO of Christian Aid Ireland, said:  “Christian Aid Week began 60 years ago to support the aid effort helping refugees fleeing war in Europe. In the decades since then, it has continued to raise millions of pounds to help people in need.

“Six decades on, there are still millions of families – mothers, fathers and children – who are running from conflict, danger and persecution around the world in search of a safe place to call home. We’re here together today to say that they have been running for long enough and that we remain committed to helping them. We are not turning our backs now and neither are the people of Northern Ireland.”

The sleep out launch was attended by local politicians and church leaders including the Rev Canon Mark Niblock, Dean’s Vicar at Belfast Cathedral. Members of the public were invited to visit a photo exhibition about the refugee crisis in Buoy Park.

You can still support Christian Aid Week by making a donation into the Christian Aid red envelopes which were delivered door to door, or donate online at or call 028 9064 8133.

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