Peace Feast

Latest Updates From Bridges

It's been a wonderful summer for Peace Feast, and we're honoured to have partnered with some great organisations in Bristol for some fabulous feasts. In June we joined Zion Community Cafe for a Sudanese Feast as part of Bristol Refugee Festival. Negla from Food without Borders provided a delicious meal, Soufian Saihi serenaded guests with uplifting Middle Eastern & North African riffs and Mubarak inspired everyone with his captivating personal story.

Here's a snapshot from our guests, 

"I absolutely loved every aspect: the food, the music, the stories and the encounters. The space was held with much joy and gentleness."

"Really great event – delicious food with an opportunity to meet and talk with people I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to. It was eye-opening and uplifting."

"Loved it! I was very tired when I arrived and now very energised."

In July we joined our good friends at the Redcatch Community Garden in Knowle for a wonderful outdoor feast under their beautiful canopy. Guests were treated to a sumptuous feast, music by Turkish musician Ozcan and a moving and informative story from our guest speaker, Tamadour Saliem.

Here's what some of our guests had to say:

"Really lovely atmosphere, friendly and welcoming, delicious food"

"Lovely food, lovely people, and beautiful location, really enjoyed today. Would love to come again."

"Nice to move around between courses to meet new people. Great talks and music"


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We've had the pleasure of hosting two really memorable Peace Feasts this Spring, with some great friends, old and new.

In March, we gathered 90 people with Bristol's Sudanese Community Association at the Asian Day Centre for a scintillating Sudanese evening. While guests tucked into a delicious feast, we were serenaded by Bristol's own Nabra, a unique duo from old friends Knud Stűwe and Ali Elmubarak blending jazz riffs, classical compositions and Sudanese sounds. Our good friend, Mohammed El Sharif shared the vision of the Sudanese Community Association and we had the honour of hearing from the wonderful Wafa Suliman from Open Minds Active. Wafa has led projects in many fields, from medical care, to social work to swimming coaching, in Egypt and the UK, and she has bought all her experience to Open Minds Active, which helps to empower people in Bristol through outdoor exercise and wild swimming. 

A huge thank you to the Bristol Sudanese Community Association for hosting, to Nabra for the music, to Mohammed and Wafa for sharing their stories, to the team of amazing chefs who cooked up a feast for us all, and to all the guests who came.

A few weeks later, we were delighted to meet at St Mary Redcliffe Church in the heart of Bristol, with 70 people for a lovely Peace Feast in the Redcliffe community. Bristol's Somali Kitchen cooked up a flavoursome meal, Dijwar Khalil serenaded guests, and the inspirational Salha Abdalla from Houria Catering shared the challenges and joys of being a master chef and a full-time mum. Thanks also to the amazing Aggy and St Mary Redcliffe for hosting us so well. It was a beautiful evening.

Here's what guests had to say from both events:

"A warm and welcoming event - delicious food- wonderful music"

"Fab venue and fantastic food- really enjoy mixing and meeting new people"

"Inspiring to see a church being used for a multicultural feast"

If you have an idea for a Peace Feast, you can speak to our Peace Feast Project Manager, Asia Yousif at

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It's been wonderful to hold two Peace Feasts in different areas of Bristol this last month, bringing people together from different communities and watching the magic that happens as they simply share a meal together and get to know one another. 

The Knowle Peace Feast was held at Redcatch Community Garden and was a brilliant evening under the dome of their huge marquee. A delicious feast was served up by Holly and the catering team, and music was provided by Turkish musician Özcan. Special thanks to Mike Cardwell who runs the garden and Imam Qazi from the Bristol Jamia Mosque in Totterdown for sharing a little bit of their personal stories with us. 

A week after the Knowle event, the Easton Peace Feast was held at Easton CE Academy in partnership with Easton Christian Family Centre. Special thanks to Baraka Community Café for cooking up a sumptuous feast, and to Shafiullah and Muna, our guest speakers for the night. 

We'll leave you with some quotes from those that attended the two evenings:

It was a lovely evening - warm and uplifting. Great mix of speeches, music, company and lovely food.

It was great to connect with local people of different cultures and faiths. Lovely food too!

A wonderful, friendly, well run event - great fun. I will come again.

I was not expecting much but met Ahmed from Afghanistan who was inspiring. So glad I came.

Really lovely to get to meet a family from Syria and hear about their journey to Bristol. Amazing food and music.

'An amazing and wonderful experience, a great way to learn about other cultures'

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As we look to the future and plan how we can rebuild our city after Covid, I had the honour of interviewing Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor for Bristol to discover what we can learn from unsung heroes in this season, how Bristol's One City Plan is making it a more inclusive and empowering place to live, and how a Citizens' Assembly is paving the way for real democracy. With deep and soulful music from Firewoodisland, written for a time such as this, and with a delicious vegetarian feast from Baraka Community Café, delivered to more than 70 people by a team of cyclists, this was a Peace Feast to remember.

Comments include:

"I was so struck by the grassroots mutual aid during the first wave, so many friends have been helped with food parcels etc, it's really meaningful."

"Esther, the salad was AMAZING! Even my vegetable-suspicious children enjoyed it."

"Thank you guys great food for thought and ACTION."

With thanks to Great Get Together Facebook community grants for enabling this event. 


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In December, I had the privilege of meeting Fr Dr Nadim Nassar, Director of the Awareness Foundation, for our Virtual Christmas Peace Feast. From the safety of the beautiful Beddington Park, I caught up with Dr Nadim to hear about life by the sea in Syria, where we can find hope this Christmas and peace between the East and West. With live music, some tasty festive bakes and inspiring words from Dr Nadim, it was an encouraging night in a year where we're looking for hope.

Some reflections on the evening include:

"I like the way Dr Nassar talks about after the pandemic stopping to reflect on our relationship with God, creation and each other."

"Thank you for such a positive look at diversity and an attitude of learning when approaching difference that one might not have come across before."

"Fr Dr Nadim Nassar is very inspirational, appreciated his comments of the importance of small acts of kindness"

An extra highlight of the evening was seeing our friend Abdul-Haleem and the feast of traditional Arabic pastries that he had prepared for his family. Abdul-Haleem and his family were part of Bridges' Middle East b.friend programme and I had the honour of meeting them, along with their b.friend volunteer Beth, back in the summer. His Arabic sweets are the finest I have ever tasted!

With thanks to Great Get Together Facebook community grants for enabling this event. 


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In October 2020 I had the honour of interviewing Kim Leadbeater, ambassador to the Jo Cox Foundation, to seek some advice and inspiration on how to overcome isolation in this season. Jo Cox was MP for Batley and Spen until her tragic murder in 2016 and her sister, Kim Leadbeater vowed to continue her legacy by serving isolated communities around our nation, bringing people together, overcoming differences and unlocking a wave of compassion.

They follow the conviction that 'We have more in common than that which divides us' which is a quote from Jo's first speech in Westminster and their 'Great Get Together' has been an amazing success, bringing people together in cities right across the country.

Kim emplored us to keep going in the spirit of reaching out to our neighbours, encouraged us to seek help ourselves when we need it, and championed those who have rolled their sleeves up and sought to build new friendships in their communities, from faith groups, to school groups, to neighbourhood gatherings, all looking out for one another in lockdown.

We were joined by friends in Bristol, Coventry, Sweden and Dubai and with magnificent music from Danny Vincent and Dijwar Khalil along with delicious food from Lona restaurant, it was a joyful and inspiring evening.

With thanks to Great Get Together Facebook community grants for enabling this event. 

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We had the privilege of partnering with Bristol Refugee Festival last week to host our second Virtual Peace Feast. Baraka Community Café cooked up the most colourful feast I have ever seen, a halloumi salad with roasted aubergines, spiced mango, free-range eggs and fresh pomegranate seeds, with an 'Easton Mess' to finish, (a tropical take on the classic Eton Mess), courtesy of Emmeline.

Our sterling team of cyclists delivered the feast to houses all over Bristol, and Dijwar Khalil performed a set of traditional Syrian music, while people ate together, from the safety of their own homes. It was a delight to hear from our three esteemed speakers, Bushra Alsakkaf, Filsan Adan and Lizzie Briggs who shared their stories of living, working and championing the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the city.

Bushra modelled the grace, positivity and determination many refugees have shown in adapting to a new culture, learning a new language and serving a new city. Filsan spoke eloquently about the joys and challenges of growing up with dual identities, raised in a British city, within a Somali family and she captured the heart of the Somali 'entrepreneurial spirit,' adapting to situations with creativity and resourcefulness. Lizzie shared the wonderful work of Bristol Hospitality Network who have been supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol for many years, seeing men and women who have fled war-torn regions, flourishing in a new culture.

It was inspiring to hear such personal accounts from people who have pioneered a way for refugees to excel in our city and contribute to Bristol's global culture. A particular highlight was hearing Filsan speak of the women's craft collective, a group of refugee ladies who are embroidering face masks for people in Bristol, so we can continue to stay safe as lockdown eases.

The inspiration I personally felt from the speakers was mirrored in the conversations I had over the Zoom 'coffee-lounge' and it was a pleasure to meet new people, British and Syrian, and to hear one another's stories.

Thanks to Esther and her team for such a flavoursome feast, thanks to the team of cyclists who delivered it to homes across the city, and massive respect to our musician and speakers, Dijwar, Bushra, Filsan and Lizzie for bringing your talents and wisdom to the evening.

Here's what some guests had to say,

"I enjoyed the sense of community, even virtually, of sharing time together and bringing people together with food and beautiful music. I also enjoyed learning about different cultures and hearing about different experiences to my own. It was such a positive evening and I felt happy to be involved!" (Kathleen)

"Eating the same food together helps make you feel part of something bigger, and tangibly connects all sorts of people from across the city." (Anon)

"Wonderful food combined with interesting, informative speakers." (Hilary)

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Bushra, from Bridges for Communities, serves a vegetarian feast

It was such a pleasure to host our first Peace Feast at the Baraka Community Café in Easton Family Centre. People from many different cultures, nationalities and faiths came together for a delicious vegetarian feast, with music from the talented Dijwar Khalil.

New friendships were forged, new recipes were welcomed, and a good time was had by all.

Special thanks to Dijwar, Mohammed and Bushra for sharing their stories of life in Eritrea and Syria. It was a very moving time and they all spoke with great passion about their journeys to the UK and their hopes and dreams for the future.

A highlight for many was the spontaneous singing and dancing at the end, as guests joined in with traditional Arabic songs.

Some comments on the night include...

"A very enjoyable evening talking to different people and the Baraka food was lovely"

"I found the atmosphere brilliant... so much joy"

"Very beautiful experience"

"I was overwhelmed by Mohammed's description of life in Eritrea and touched by the friendship and freedom he found here"

"Great food, great idea, super great people"


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Chefs serving up a delicious meal

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Our series of Peace Feasts continued this month with a special event in the Arc Cafe, Redcliffe. 

A special thanks to Food without Borders for the delicious Sudanese meal, to Soufian Saihi for the music, to St Mary Redcliffe for hosting in the Arc Café, and to the volunteers who helped make it happen!!

Here's what a few of the people who came said about the event, and a few highlights:

"Unique, interesting, and very welcome in these troubled times."

"Really heartwarming event, good atmosphere."

"Another great event - such a simple idea but a real pleasure to meet and talk with others."

"It was a lovely inclusive event with friendly people and delicious food."


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St Anne's church hall was the venue for our first event in Brislington, and the community certainly provided a wonderful welcome and a great evening of conversation, music and food! 

We had the priviledge of eating from a menu prepared by former Masterchef contestant Zaleha Olpin, and the beautiful background music was provided by Dijwar Khalil. 

We would like to thank St Anne's for hosting, and everyone who came along for making it an evening to remember! 

Here's what a few people said about the event, and some photo highlights below.

"A lovely event, nice to see people talking together. Great food too!"

"It was such a great opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds."

"Beautiful idea - warm, convivial and truly amazing food."

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A really heartwarming evening at The Station in Bristol as 65 people from different communities and different backgrounds came together to share a delicious meal and took the time to talk together and listen to one another.

Here's what people who came said about it:

"It was an absolute pleasure to meet people from different faiths and backgrounds whom I never usually meet."

"Great food! Amazing conversations! Beautiful music. Such a brilliant sense of community."

"Thoroughly enjoyable... good food, good company: what more could a person want?"

"When you're intentional about talking then you get so much out of it - thank you for encouraging us to be!"


We'd like to say a special thank you to:

- Food Without Borders for a delicious Moroccan tagine

- Mohammed El Sharif for sharing his story and opening up great conversations

- Soufian Saihi, Oud soloist and founder of Karama, for providing beautiful background music


Here are a few highlights from the evening: 

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Highlights from the Peace Feast at Easton Academy last Friday. With special thanks to the school for hosting, to Dijwar Khalil for the beautiful music, to Moveable Feast for the meal we shared, to everyone for coming and making it so enjoyable... and to Samira Belhaj for the photos!

What participants said about the event:

"This was a lovely event with very warm welcome, great food and a good opportunity to meet people."

"A fantastic evening, it was lovely to hear people's stories. Amazing food."

"A good opportunity to get to talk with other people."

"Brilliant! Can't wait for the next one!"

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