PEOPLE from across Glasgow's refugee community gathered to celebrate their "Roots of Refuge" at a community event on Thursday.

The Roots of Refuge event was organised for the Refugee Festival Scotland 2023 by JustRightScotland and volunteer group JustCitizens.

It celebrated the work of refugee-led grassroots networks, groups and organisations in Glasgow.

READ MORE: Legendary SNP campaigner Winnie Ewing dies​ aged 93

Organisers took over the Hidden Gardens in Glasgow's southside to highlight projects that support refugees and asylum seekers across Scotland.

The National: People from across Glasgow enjoy the 'Roots of Refuge' event

JustRight Scotland senior communications officer Annamaria De Felice said that the event was about being "joyful" and showing that "we are all important to the community" - in stark contrast to Home Secretary Suella Braverman's Illegal Migration Bill. 

She said: "With everything that is going on at national level, and above all a UK level with the current Illegal Migration Bill discussed in parliament, what we're doing is the opposite of the bill.

"We're sending a message of hope, a message of solidarity, of compassion because the people taking part in the event today are from migrant backgrounds, they are refugees and people from other backgrounds.

"They have all come together today to celebrate."

The National: People from across Glasgow enjoy the 'Roots of Refuge' event

She added: "This bill has a profound impact on our community. When we talk about refugees and migrants we're talking about our friends, our families, our neighbours.

"Addressing them with such language and such tone is something that doesn't fit with our values."

The event provided free food for everyone who attended and saw performances from talented musicians of refugee and migrant backgrounds.

The National:

A "children's corner" was also set up to cater to families, with face painting and other activities available.

JustRightScotland participation and development officer Mariam Tuma - who described the event as "her baby" - said its main aim "is to provide a platform for community groups and organisations."

She said: "By providing incentives like free entry, live music, free food, activities and games you are able to bring people in to these kinds of events that would not normally go to advocacy events."

READ MORE: Debris found in search for missing Titan with Glasgow student on board

She continued: "It can be very very draining at the moment to work in this sector or to be an asylum seeker on the receiving end of government rhetoric.

"Spaces like this remind people that most people are on your side."

Glasgow Clyde College was one of around 15 organisations represented at the event.

Despite not being a refugee-based group, the college was highlighting its work providing community education through courses, and also informing refugees that they may be entitled to free ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) classes.

Community, learning and development officer Cheryl McLean said: "The courses are usually 12-week blocks and it's really a first interaction to get comfortable and build confidence as a kind of stepping-stone to college.

"All colleges are really full at the moment - it's not just us it's everywhere - but if we provide a course and people show they're keen and keep coming we will at least guarantee them that chat and that interview to get that chance."

She highlighted that the classes are not limited to just languages, with beauty, photography, IT and many others also available - sewing being the most popular.

She said: "It's because people can make their own things. Clothes, curtains, bedding, so they can save a lot of money."

She said that even though the course is only short, a lot of participants have bought their own sewing machine by the end of it.