The beautiful walled garden of Ashburnham Place rang with sounds of music and laughter last Sunday (23rd June) as the Hastings Community of Sanctuary celebrated its Festival by the Lake. Now in its third year, this annual event aims to promote solidarity with and support for refugees,
in particular the small community of Syrians and Sudanese  that
have made their homes in the Hastings area.

The 600-strong crowd shared food and conversation, and even basked in occasional brief shafts of sunlight. They were entertained by Sarah Jane Morris, Gwyneth Herbert, Samaki Afrobeat and others in a brilliant series of short sets on the small stage. Outside the walls, the festival spread out through the rolling parkland with tours of the no-dig kitchen gardens, drumming and singing workshops, and a pop-up footie academy. Wild swimming enthusiasts plunged into the lake under the careful supervision of what seemed like a small naval squadron of lifeguards patrolling in kayaks. 

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