IMMIGRANTS, refugee charities and community groups held a day of celebration and networking on Saturday in support of Refugee Week as charity bosses appealed for more landlords to come forward to house families.

On the eve of the arrival of Brighton’s tenth refugee family from Syria, the Brighton Dome played host to the Connect event at which poetry was read, music played on rare instruments and world cuisine was sampled.

Richard Williams of Sanctuary on Sea, said: “We’ve done a lot but we can do more.

“The more landlords who step forward to offer appropriate affordable accommodation, the more Syrian families we can welcome.”

The event, which was preceded by a march in fancy dress from Trafalgar Street, was part-organised by the Hummingbird refugee charity which provided children’s services at the Jungle camp before it was razed by the French authorities.

Organiser Elaine Ortiz of Hummingbird said: “Last week was Refugee Week but it was also Ramadan so a lot of our refugee communities couldn’t join us because they were fasting or because they were just tired.

“So we decided to do this today.

“It’s a celebration that we’re a City of Sanctuary and a city that welcomes refugees.”

Poet Monika Richards said that in addition to providing networking with other charities, the day offered cultural exchange opportunities.

She said: “We have creative workshops, puppetry making, we have Kurdish textiles on sale, music played on traditional Syrian instruments. It’s fantastic.”

Bashir Algamar, 59, who fled the Sudan for the UK in 1991, said life for immigrants and refugees in the Brighton area had improved in his lifetime.

He said: “I can see that now there’s more integration, more understanding of the refugee situation.

“Movements like these and occasions like this help a lot.

“I can see different cultures here and that’s exactly what you want – it leads to more understanding.”

Essam Yakoub is a 21-year-old from Darfur who started working with Hummingbird at the Jungle.

He was housed in Doncaster after moving to the UK but recently came to Brighton.

He said: “Brighton is so open, I can’t find it better in any city.

“And here there are so many charities and volunteers.”

Brighton and Hove has always embraced and thrived on difference and is famed for celebrating the diversity of its residents.