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Students and Refugees Together win Citizen’s Prize 2017


The share of all EU citizens who believe that their country has benefitted from EU membership is 64%, an increase of four percentage points compared to 2016.

Students and Refugees Together (START) together with one of its founders Avril Bellinger were awarded the European Parliament Citizen’s Prize for their work in helping young refugees becoming an active part of their new communities.

Since 2008, the European Citizen’s Prize is awarded to individuals or organisations which help cross-border cooperation or mutual understanding within the EU. These year’s winners include 49 people and organisations from 26 EU countries.

START, founded in 2001 in Plymouth has, since its inception helped many young refugees and their families to become an integral part of the Plymouth community. The principle objective of the projects is, for young social worker students to learn through study placements how to create and implement successful local projects.

The charity adopts a mix of traditional approaches together with fresh ideas such as the ‘START allotment programme’ which provides refugees with outside gardening spaces where they can grow a variety of foods. The foods produced as part of the programme are later cooked and served at the Cultural Kitchen, a weekly rendez-vous that symbolises the core idea of the project: refugees and people from the local community coming together thus encouraging greater reciprocal understanding.

The UK winner, nominated by Clare Moody, one of the region’s MEPs had been selected following through rigorous selection criteria and process set out by the Chancellery, a committee chaired by the Vice President of the European Parliament Sylvie Guillaume.

Having being awarded the prize at a national ceremony in Plymouth, START founder Avril Bellinger collected the prize during an award ceremony in Brussels with the other 49 winners coming from other EU Member State.  

For the full list of winners, click here.