A team of five runners has raised more than £3,000 for Oxford-based charity Refugee Resource to help fund its work supporting asylum seekers.

The organisation, which is based at The Old Music Hall in Cowley Road, aims to relieve distress, improve wellbeing and facilitate the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants, mainly in Oxfordshire, by providing psychological, social and practical support.

The runners were due to take part in the official Oxford Half Marathon, which was unable to take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Undeterred by the restrictions, a handful of runners got together to coordinate their own ‘virtual’ running routes on the day the race was due to take place, Sunday October 11 – completing them in Oxford, Witney and London.

David Waller, 66, raised £1,150 and ran through a number of Oxford parks, including Port Meadow, Florence Park and South Park.

Oxford Mail:

David Waller

Claudia Koch, 50, raised £320, also running through Oxford.

Jack Miller, 31, raised £305 and ran around Witney, starting and finishing with his colleagues cheering him on at Ue Coffee Roasters.

Charity supporters Emily Delap and Mark Smith, who are based in London, decided to run the route a little closer to home and head past some historic landmarks, finishing up at Waterloo station – together they have raised £765.

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Refugee Resource began due to the inspiration of Amanda Webb-Johnson who remains to this day a counsellor with the organisation.

Oxford Mail:

Claudia Koch

Ms Webb-Johnson said: "It has been a huge privilege to work with such fine people (refugees) – ordinary people going through extraordinary life experiences - and be able to learn from them and accompany them on difficult but inspiring journeys."

She is constantly humbled and inspired by the fact that “they have often been brought to their knees by all that they suffered and lost in fleeing from their country and yet they find the courage and resourcefulness to pick themselves up and create a new life”.

It is the charity’s 21st birthday today.

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The Women’s Service is one of the important elements of work at Refugee Resource.

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It brings together women who are refugees, asylum seekers or vulnerable migrants – people who have been trafficked, enslaved or suffered domestic abuse and trauma.

Separated from their homes, communities and extended families, often following very traumatic events, the women are vulnerable upon reaching Oxford, even if accompanied by children and their husbands.

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They then have the complex and challenging process of having their refugee status agreed, which can re-traumatise many.

If readers would like to donate to Refugee Resource they can visit justgiving.com/campaign/refugeeresource21.