On Saturday 18th September 2021, our Weekend Club were delighted to host their first in-person event since the pandemic started. The Weekend Club hosts fun, free, family-friendly events once a month at the weekend for people new to Glasgow, especially refugees and asylum seekers (and those who want to welcome them).

This event took place in the Botanic Gardens. The group were joined by Scottish poet Gerry Loose who facilitated a renga, which is a Japanese approach to collaborative poetry writing. Gerry led participants through writing lines of poetry to set themes (Autumn, Autumn Garden, Winter, Love) and the families responded enthusiastically to Gerry’s gentle poetic prompts. The group jointly selected the best lines to be added to a collaborative poem that explored our environment and changing seasons inspired by the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow. Read the fruits of the session at the bottom of the page!

While the adults concentrated on their renga, volunteers led the children in nature discovery games, foraging for food, building hedgehog homes, learning how to make a bee hotel and secretly exploring a hidden garden.

To round off the event, Freya Aitchison from climate action group Time For Change filmed some participants for the group’s Hopes for the Future film which will be shown at COP26.

Participants, staff and volunteers were delighted to meet again in person – in many cases for the first time. One participant said, ‘My kids and I loved this event! I feel much less isolated now.’ Another said, ‘My son was so happy to pick apples in the garden. He has a story to tell in class on Monday now!’

Towards COP26
an interfaith, multicultural, multilingual short renga

already the apples are falling
but the pumpkins
are not yet ripe

the fragrance of the flowers is blowing with the wind
filling the air with the mixture of fragrant blooms

keep silent like the season
no rain, no ice, no
snow

together with the planet, healthy, strong life
destroy nature, lose our spirit

the sound of the leaves when they
touch the ground gives me many feelings
the garden is a paradise that belongs to God on earth

winter – my warm old coat reminds me
of you; winter makes me sad

I see love in a tear, in laughter, in a season,
why are you searching for love
when it’s all around you?