A while ago the Diocese recognised that they needed to provide some help to coordinate and advise parishes who want to respond to the needs of refugees coming to live in Yorkshire. That was why the Diocesan Refugee Action Support Group was set up. They have now followed through on this by appointing someone to help with this in a paid role for 3 days per week. The person appointed is Katrina Burton and she has just started in her role in the last week.

Photo of Katrina BurtonKatrina has spent the last 30 years working with disadvantaged groups across West Yorkshire including ex-offenders, young people and working with and managing Supported Housing Projects.

She first became involved with refugees when Iraqi refugees began to be sent to Yorkshire: “I had already worked for many years with people who had suffered in one way or another. However, nothing prepared me for the stories that the Iraqi refugees began to tell. Their stories of persecution and torture were overwhelming. Yet, at the same time, I was immensely inspired by the resourcefulness and inner strength these people possessed. From that point I resolved that these were the people I wanted to work with”.

Since then, Katrina spent 9 years working with LASSN (Leeds Asylum Seekers Network) managing the Grace Hosting project.

Katrina will be working 3 days per week for the Diocese. She will continue to work 2 days per week managing the WYDAN (West Yorkshire Destitute Asylum Seekers Network) Winter Night Shelter scheme – which was featured in our newsletter a few months ago.

Katrina commented that “it is clear that there is a tremendous amount of compassion among the Catholic community in Yorkshire and my role is to help shape that into something that makes a real difference to people’s lives.  Working in partnership with other Christian organisations and local authorities and other groups will be essential to making a success of this both for those who want to help and for those who need help. I’m looking forward to meeting many parishioners over the coming months”.

You can contact Katrina by phoning 077 3999 75020 or emailing her at