One year on since the Bibby Stockholm barge was first announced, Stand Up To Racism Dorset has been heartened by the fantastic welcome refugees on board have received from local people on Portland and elsewhere.  

But we are also stepping up our campaign for the prison barge to be shut down with the launch of our People’s Inquiry into the Bibby Stockholm in the Houses of Parliament. 

Refugees fleeing persecution have got to know local people as they have volunteered for local charities, as well as through a growing network of activities including games, running, walking, cooking, or just conversation.

Laney White from Portland Global Friendship Group said, “We have all benefitted from meeting each other. Portland and Weymouth people have shown they can stand up to attempts to stir up racism and division.”

“Many of people’s fears have begun to go when they actually meet the barge residents,” she added.

But the restrictions of life on board the barge still feel like prison, with damaging effects on the mental health of those seeking asylum. 

“We remember Leonard Farruku with sadness, who took his own life on the barge in December,” said Candy Udwin, joint secretary of Stand Up To Racism Dorset. 

“We believe the barge is inhumane and should be shut down, so we are taking our campaign to Parliament.”

Together with Portland Global Friendship Group and Care 4 Calais,Stand Up To Racism is undertaking a People’s Inquiry into the Bibby Stockholm. Submissions are being taken from refugees, local people, volunteers, professionals, and politicians. The report will be launched on Tuesday 23 April in the Houses of Parliament. 

If you would like to be involved with the Inquiry or with supporting the Bibby residents, please email [email protected].

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