FAMILIES in and around Skipton have welcomed 22 refugees and asylum seekers into their homes for a weekend of hospitality and new experiences.

The weekend featured an action-packed programme including a climb up Holy Trinity tower where the bell ringers demonstrated their art, a trip on a canal barge and an African dance and drumming workshop.

The Batty Moss Ceilidh band provided music and entertainment for 80 people at the church on Saturday and Sunday morning saw many of the visitors share in worship in various churches across Skipton.

Funmi, originally from Nigeria, said: “Getting into the whole activities planned, I dare say there was no dull moment for me.

"My kids have had so much fun and don’t want to leave. And me on the other hand I have had relief from children worries as they were occupied and loved it all.”

Paul Martin Emery, one of the hosts said: "This visit was a learning curve in so many ways. A tender and humbling experience. A weekend of sharing and joy, and yes at times sadness and near tears.

"But more than this, it was a weekend of giving and sharing from our visitor’s side as much as ours."

The initiative was organised by a partnership including Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), the Bradford Immigration & Asylum Support & Advice Network (BIASAN), the Craven Refugee Support Network and various churches in Skipton.

Judy Rogers, community worker at YDMT, said: “It was an amazing weekend to welcome our visitors from Bradford as well as our new Syrian friends.

"I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work - the generosity of the people of Skipton was enormous.”

The initiative formed part of YDMT’s award-winning People and the DALES project and was made possible thanks to generous funding from the Sir George Martin Trust, Morrisons Foundation and Guardian City of Sanctuary Christmas Appeal.