Another World Belfast donates care packages to group of asylum seekers at Carrickfergus hotel

Social enterprise Another World Belfast has donated care packages to a group of asylum seekers currently based in Carrickfergus.

Connor Kerr of Another World Belfast.

Last week, the Home Office confirmed that the group of around 30 people were staying at the Loughshore Hotel in the town.

The news sparked fierce debate on social media, with police confirming on Friday that they had launched an investigation after receiving complaints about posts relating to the group.

Two asylum seekers were also removed from the hotel and taken to undisclosed location after photos of them appeared online.

A not-for-profit organisation, Another World Belfast aims to "bring together marginalised communities to create lasting change and fight for equality".

It was co-founded in 2017 by Connor Kerr, originally from Carrickfergus and Becky Bellamy.

The 'Love Pack' project is part of the organisation's charity arm, Show Some Love, which campaigns for and collects much needed supplies for those experiencing homelessness, displacement and hardship.

In a post on their Facebook page, Another World Belfast said that many people had got in touch to see what they could do to help the individuals and families staying at the premises "feel welcome and safe".

"We contacted the Loughshore Hotel to see if we could drop down a Love Pack for each of their new residents," the post added.

"They were happy to hear from us after days of being snowed under with negativity and let us know that the packs would be very much appreciated."

The packs contained hygiene items, comfortable socks, and treats from Lush in Belfast as well as bath bombs for the hotel staff.

Volunteers delivered the items on Saturday evening amid a protest at the hotel. "We were happy to see our colleagues and friends that work with refugees and asylum seekers on the ground providing assistance," Another World Belfast added.

"They let us know that although the residents were aware of the protest, they were in good spirits and were getting ready to relax and watch a movie together."

Police confirmed they were in attendance at a protest in the Shore Road area of Carrickfergus on Saturday evening (July 26).

"Around 25 people took part in the protest," a PSNI spokesperson said.

"Officers engaged with the participants and an evidence-gathering operation was in place and footage gathered will be reviewed to determine if any offences were committed."

Meanwhile, a local DUP councillor also addressed allegations of racism after voicing concern about the situation at the hotel last week.

Cllr Marc Collins said: "Having legitimate concerns is not the same as being racist, so don’t judge anyone if they are worried or concerned about what’s going on."