The operators of a new refugee centre in Jesmond have been shocked by an act of vandalism on the eve of their official opening today.

A brick was thrown through the glass pane doors of Zara’s House on Monday.


The Newcastle Herald

Zara’s House is a support centre which will aim to help refugee women settle into Newcastle, and to nurture and facilitate the talents and cultures of the women.

Sister Diana Santleben, who is part of the team of refugees and partners opening Zara’s House, was horrified by the display of violence, which staff members believe was intended as a message towards the refugees.

“It was five panels they smashed with this big brick,” says Sister Santleben.

“We probably have to look seriously at finding information about getting a CCTV camera. If they come back again they are really determined to do something criminal, and the police will be quite interested in that.”

Sister Santleben believes the attack will only make the community spirit within the refugee centre and the greater Newcastle area stronger.

“It makes the people of Newcastle stronger and we help each other even more than we were going to do in the past, so its probably, in a weird sort of a way, a good thing for the refugees.”

With recovery of the centre underway, Zara’s House will be officially opened today by Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.