A REFUGEE women’s group cooked up a feast of meals inspired by their home countries to help feed homeless people.

On Monday, Refugee Resource teamed up with the Oxford Homeless Project to provide a special meal in the Asian Cultural Centre to mark International Women’s Day.

The women used recipes from a cookbook they have put together called ‘Come to Our Table’ featuring food and drinks inspired by their countries of birth.

After the book was published last year, the women wanted to build on its success by taking the food featured inside it out to other communities to share with local people.

Monday’s community café was the first of a series of four events which Refugee Resource plans to run over the year in partnership with Oxford City of Sanctuary, a network of groups that aim to promote safety and inclusion for people seeking refuge in the UK.

It marks the start of a project which seeks to develop closer connections between refugees and with other groups of people in Oxford, to reduce isolation and exclusion.

In particular the group wanted to reach out to people in Oxford who may be facing challenges in life and do something positive to show their support.

Fatou Ceesay, the women’s service coordinator, said: “I hope we can bring Oxford’s diverse community together with particular focus on the homeless, vulnerably housed and isolated people.

“We want to create an environment where our guests will share, socialise and feel less isolated.”

The women’s group has been run by Refugee Resource for more than a decade.

It sees about 56 women regularly meet up several times a week to socialise, learn new skills and take part in activities.

Kate Hood, CEO of Refugee Resource, said: “This group provides a vital, safe space for the women where they can provide support and friendship to one another, and share their experiences and understanding of how to adapt to life in a new country.

“Our work at Refugee Resource helps people heal from the trauma and suffering they have experienced, and empowers them to connect with the local community in order to build new lives here – and the women’s group provides a powerful example of this.”

The project is funded by Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s High Sheriff’s Community Integration Awards for initiatives bringing together different communities.

High Sheriff of Oxfordshire Jane Cranston said: “These awards recognise initiatives that build greater common knowledge and understanding between communities in the county.”

To buy a copy of Come to Our Table for £5, with all proceeds going towards funding the activities of the women’s group, visit refugeeresource.org.uk