Project Description

Ruth Higginson

Multicultural Volunteer

“Where else, other than the conversation café, could I have a handsome younger man look me in the eye and say, “Ruth, you are looking gorgeous today”?  Practicing his English of course!”

Ruth Higginson, Multicultural Cumbria Volunteer

I started volunteering when I came across Laura in the Cornerstones conversation café in Autumn 2022, I was at Cornerstones because I was already volunteering there.  Previously I had met some of the asylum seekers at the St John’s church English classes, which sadly did not work out for me.
I met a lot of the first cohort at the time, and was happy to be invited along to 3 volunteer working party days, as an extra body, and generally mature woman.  I had great days at Long Meg, Geltsdale and somewhere else I cannot remember the name of, but where we made the willow spheres for Tullie garden.

I have been able to come to the Cornerstones café most weeks, for chatting and playing UNO. I volunteered to help at Culture Bazaar at Carlisle College in April 2023, helping with the painting tables and leaflet folding where I first met my pal Yousef.  I did a couple of craft sessions late 2023, involving sock monkeys.  More recently I have started coming to the Fire Station sessions on Wednesday evenings, the first being the night of the deluge, after which I managed to cram 4 soggy lads into my car, to distribute them around the city, as they seemed to be less than waterproof.

On Saturday 1st June 2024 I had a fun time at the Diversity  Carnival Parade, followed by a very good time at Bitts Park picnicking at The Big Lunch.  (I knew I would fit in on the parade because one of my sons assured me I was dressed like a middle aged lesbian.  I was happy with that.  Though you might miss that out of any write up of this piece).  I come from Leicester, and have always found Carlisle somewhat lacking in diversity, therefore have considered myself privileged to play a tiny part in showing welcome to newcomers to the city, especially to those for whom Carlisle has only been a little part of their journey.
I have learned a lot, and continue to learn,  either about how the Home Office works, or, more interestingly other people’s lives and cultures. I love to be involved and busy in my local community, with practical tasks.

There have been many laughs, some sad moments, and where else, other than the conversation cafe could I have a handsome younger man look me in the eye and say, “Ruth, you are looking gorgeous today”?  Practicing his English of course!


3rd June – 9th June 2024


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