Palestinian voices @ small park BIG RUN

small park BIG RUN is a community solidarity event in support of Palestinian people. For a day, in the heart of Sheffield, Palestine is visible – in spite of continuous efforts that would encourage us to forget Palestine and silence voices in support of Palestinian people.

So, we are really pleased to have a programme that has Palestinian voices loud and clear both on 3pm Saturday afternoon and 10 am Sunday morning. (Free coffee and cake on Sunday morning!)

On Saturday, we are privileged to be able to welcome Mahmoud Zwahre who has been tireless (and brave) in his activism to defend Palestinian farmers.

Mahmoud will be helping us plant a native tree in solidarity with these hard pressed famers close to Meersbrook Hall; this will be followed by a talk in the Palestinian Voices tent.

Mahmoud will show us how Palestinian farmers bear the brunt of the environmental destructions perpetrated by Israel whether – this is uprooting of trees or denial of access to land or water. he will talk to us too about his campaign to plant native trees in Palestine to replace the ones uprooted by settlers.

Just as Palestinian farmers have to confront, daily incursions, so Palestinian women have to confront climate and environmental change. Dima Alshami will follow Mahmoud and discuss what climate justice means for Palestinian women.

Dima is a Rotheram-based Palestinian student.

Finally, our own Jawad Qasrawi, ran at the Palestine Marathon event in March this year. He will talk to us about what this means to him, his attempts to see his father’s village and meeting up with his family. Bring a hanky!

Look out for the Palestinian voices tent! For times see the programme.

small park BIG SING – can you help?

As always we will be having a celebration at the end of small park BIG RUN – the Lord Mayor, congratulations to the 24 hour runners and all the people who have helped, and as always a special zoom call with children and childcare workers in Khan Younis, Gaza, at a centre where the money your raise goes.

This year we will be doing something really special.

We have invited six choirs to come and help us sing you’ll never walk alone. We want you and your friends to join in too

…in the park or on the zoom.

We want you to feel the joy of singing with lots of people and we want the children and their carers to hear us say loud and clear they are not forgotten, that we think about them and we shout out for them.

But for this to work really well as a broadcast, we need your help now to raise £2000 in order to have the right technology and make this a truly memorable event.

We have set up a crowdfund:

Please like, share, spread the word and , if you can , make a small donation. Lots of small donations will do it!!


Plant-a-tree at small park BIG RUN

This year  at small park BIG RUN we are raising awareness of how Israeli state policies have been labelled by Amnesty International and Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem as apartheid.

We have recently written about how Palestinians are denied access to clean water. 

Here we want to highlight how indigenous Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and apartheid, with no control over their land or natural resources, are highly vulnerable to the actions of settlers who defended by the Israeli army, regularly tear down trees that Palestinian farmers depend on for their livelihoods.

In a previous small park BIG RUN we welcomed Khaloud Ajarma who told us about the legacy from her family’s forced removal from their land.

This year, we are really pleased to be welcoming Mahmoud Zwahre, an academic and grassroots activist at small park BIG RUN at 3pm on Saturday 17th June.

He will plant a tree, native to the UK, and talk to us about the daily fight that Palestinian farmers face to hold on to their trees their land and their livelihood.

Save the date for small park BIG RUN 2023, 17th – 18th June

Home is a place you can go back to at will  
where your history sits

Our beautiful park welcoming the spring, holding tight till midsummer’s weekend. It reminds us of the freedom we have to simply take a stroll. It is part of our home.

The wonderful poem below brings to the fore the torment of being forced from your home and the things we might miss.

So join us from small park BIG RUN this summer, midday June 17th to midday June 18th, to celebrate and show solidarity with Palestinian people forced from their homes still waiting to return.

More details coming soon.

I have left my history   
clothes in the cupboard   plants in the garden 
who will eat the beans now?
the litany of what I should have brought gets longer: a stick to walk with
dried fruit  matches  better shoes  door key 
but they could change the locks
and now I think: scissors  scissors  of course   if only I had scissors.
What exact thing should I have brought to remind me of me?

We can’t look at once  in all directions and can be seen for miles 
unless we lie flat and still in clothes the colour of ground 
all we have as defence is how we move and what we have on our backs
if we are found we could be lost
we must stay lost to find the way 
beetles   ants  we creep up the slope    scan the hillside for men    dogs
we cannot rest too long    those who pass us might forget us or take our place
shouts in the distance    thundering feet

I am ablaze with dry    mouth sandpapered rough
thickly sticky lips    cracked tree bark throat closes over words unspoken
I flash a dripping tap    a bubbling spring    a watering can 
a wave that never comes    never crashes
someone gives us bread  sweetness spreads as I chew 
now I can wash my feet  tension skimmed off but   not poured out
I reach out to feel the soil beneath me   fall into desperate dark,
someone drops a pan and I start up shaking    how do I know it is safe?

Home is a place you can go back to at will  
where your history sits   where the language spoken is your language
days punctuated by those small routines 
kitchen cupboards with the spices you need to cook    a pan big enough for the family
the locked door    the shuttered window
rattle of army trucks roared into the village
it’s not my home    now    people roam round it
plan a future that doesn’t include me.




#spbr22 – thank you

So many lovely moments and so people to thank!

Thank you to :

  • the marshals
  • the choirs and musicians
  • the two 24 hour runners
  • all the other runners
  • all the walkers, hoppers and skippers
  • the long distance travellers
  • the walled garden and the cafe servers and cake bakers
  • the exhibition curators and looker-after-ers
  • the first aiders
  • Heeley Trust
  • the fun-runners
  • the lord mayor
  • the lantern makers and hangers
  • the kite makers and flyers
  • the fruit providers (Regather and Beanies), waterers (Derbyshire Lane Co-op) and milkers (Our Cow Molly)
  • the numerous volunteers
  • the leafleteers
  • the masseurs
  • the photographers
  • Badil
  • our interviewees
  • the writers
  • Sheffield PSC
  • the DIYers

Let’s have more next year – #spBR23 -> 17th and 18th June 2023.

The Buskers’ Hour

Last time we held small park BIG RUN in Meersbrook Park in 2019, the final hour was coined Buskers’ Hour. And it’s back! Musicians are positioned around the run circuit to encourage weary final hour participants and kicking off the festive celebratory atmosphere for the end of run rally. It will be 11.00am-noon on Sunday 19th June.

With some runners near to completing the whole 24 hours, their services will be needed more than ever! We’re delighted to have eight groups of very talented musicians kindly donating their time, efforts and happiness to us.

These include highly talented singer-songwriters, a ten piece folk band, a community choir recently returned from Palestine, a Sheffield street band, a heavy metal acoustic duo. It’s going to be a blast!

This is the complete list. Thank you all!

1 Well Dressed Band are a community based folk band based in the Peak District
2 Cobalt Tales are a female duo based in Sheffield that tours the UK and festival circuit
3 Sheffield Street Band is a well known local collective of musicians
4 Julia Waldron is a wonderful singer songwriter/guitarist from Sheffield.
5 Megatron Death is inspirational heavy metal folk.
6 Tadhamon choir is an ensemble of singers very supportive of the Palestine cause
7 John , Guy, Rob and special guest are talented Meersbrook residents
8 Chrystine Moon is another fabulous local musician and singer songwriter.

Below you can see where they will all be playing on this map and also some lovely pictures of the musicians in their element!

Hope to see you there. Don’t forget to sign up! Or simply come along and support the participants and enjoy the fun.

small park BIG RUN magic

Bit by bit the pieces are coming together – more runner registrations this week , a few more marshals (still not enough though: fancy it? And on top of this rather prosaic administrative jigsaw, is a little bit of magic as we start to see and hear all the art and love people bring to make small park BIG RUN such a wonderful event .

Here is a little taste of Body of Sound, who once again will sing at Turners Hill (hopefully not in the rain this year!), at 8pm on Saturday June 18th. You will have to be there to hear more.

You can see the full programme here

Palestinians as refugees, in film

A short programme of films in the walled garden, from Saturday midday till 4 and Sunday 11.30 till 1.30. See our programme

There are many films about Palestinians as refugees, so central has this issue been to the Palestinian experience since 1948 – and some would argue since 1917, when the British mandate started. This selection is inevitably biased: based on what we have easy access to, the available time to review their relevance and a suitable programme length for small park BIG RUN. But we hope it gives the essence and breadth of that experience as well as its contemporary relevance.

The films we are showing have all been made by Badil (, a refugee rights organisation in the West Bank. Badil make many films and we recommend you review them all! These particular films have been made over a period of time to convey information about the plight of Palestinians as refugees, the theme for small park BIG RUN in 2022.

We start with Nakba in numbers which is a fast paced run through of the numbers of people who were expelled or have been forcibly displaced during the Nakba.

As you will see in the next films, expulsion is an ongoing process and pressures brought to bare on Palestinians by Israel are designed to force them to leave. But their resistance is both courageous and long lived as shown in We Will Never Leave and Here We Will Remain.

For those that live outside of Palestine and Israel, in refugee camps in the Lebanon, life is harsh and the craving to leave to find a better life is the focus of the next two short films: No place to be and Stranded in Lebanon.

Shatila refugee camp

Last but one, we have a longer film (16 minutes), The Sun is Due to Rise. This film takes us through both the initial creation of refugees between 1947 and 1949 and subsequent policies enacted by Israel to force Palestinian people from their homes.

Handala, the iconic character created by Naji al-Ali, demanding the right of return

We finish with a determined cry for the right to return in Why we should return.

We hope these films are informative and inspire you to continue your support for Palestinian people to fight for justice.

The programme is about 40 minutes in length.