Dame Emma Thompson
Dame Emma is best known as an award-winning actress, but her talents go much further than that. Writer, director, comedian, campaigner, she is a true multihyphenate talent. She has the distinction of having won Oscars both for acting and screenwriting, for Howard’s End and Sense and Sensibility respectively.
In 2005, she combined those talents to make Nanny McPhee, a delightful children’ s film. Dame Emma and the film’s co-star Colin Firth agreed that the proceeds from ticket sales for its West End premiere should go to the Refugee Council. In previous years she has supported our Day Centre with very generous donations that have allowed us to hold our annual festive party for clients. And as well as financial support, Dame Emma has often come along to help in person.
Here’s what Dame Emma said about becoming a patron:
I am delighted to become a patron of the Refugee Council. I have been a supporter for a number of years and have seen at first hand the great work the Refugee Council does. Helping out at the Festive Party has given me an opportunity to see how remarkable and resilient asylum seekers and refugees are and how they deserve respect and understanding.
It’s only when we imagine for ourselves what it would be like to run from state terror, torture, rape, the destruction of our homes and families that we can understand how vital it would be to find a place that welcomed us and tried to heal our wounds. Fortunately the Refugee Council provides such a place.
Alf Dubs, Baron Dubs
Alf Dubs, Baron Dubs is a Labour politician and leading refugee rights advocate. Formerly the MP for Battersea, Alf was appointed as a Labour life peer in 1994, and in 1997 he became Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office. He is a former chair of Liberty, a trustee of Action Aid and the Immigration Advisory Service and former Director of the Refugee Council.
In 2016, Baron Dubs sponsored an amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 to offer unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain, having himself arrived in Britain in 1939 as a six-year-old refugee fleeing the Nazis in Czechoslovakia on the kindertransport. Baron Dubs is now campaigning to ensure that the main legal routes for refugee children to reach the UK remain open after Brexit.
For over 60 years, the Refugee Council has been a significant support for refugees and asylum seekers coming to the UK. The work it does is vital both in terms of the practical support and the advice it offers to those who arrive here having fled war, human rights violations and torture.
The most vulnerable refugees are of course children, especially those who arrive unaccompanied having lost their family, been separated from them or in some cases having been trafficked and subject to abuse and exploitation. It is thanks to organisations like the Refugee Council that these children are offered protection and support. I know from my own experience how bewildering it is to arrive in a new country, so I am especially grateful for the work the Refugee Council does to make that experience less traumatic for the refugee children of today.