City of Sanctuary is a national movement to build a culture of hospitality for those seeking sanctuary in the UK. Its goal is to create a network of towns and cities across the UK which are proud to be places of safety and which fully include people seeking sanctuary in the lives of their communities.
A ‘City of Sanctuary’ is a place where a broad range of local organisations, community groups and faith communities are publicly committed to welcoming and including people seeking sanctuary.
In January 2020 Sandwell formed a working group to begin the process of becoming a registered and recognised ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ through the City of Sanctuary movement.
The working group so far consists the organisations and individuals listed below. We have agreed the Terms of Reference presented below and are working on a Borough of Sanctuary pledge together. We need to ensure representation from across Sandwell so if you are interested in being involved we would love to hear from you – please get in touch with us at [email protected].
The working group so far
[list in progress]
- Bearwood Action for Refugees
- Brushstrokes Community Project
- We Are Bearwood
- St Hilda’s Church Friendship Group
- Sandwell Churches Link
- Smethwick Church Action Network
- Bearwood Community Hub
- Sandwell Library Service
- Cllr Ahmad Bostan, Abbey Ward
- Go Play Sandwell
- Smethwick Old Church
- Gary Bowman, local resident
- Place of the Nations Christian Centre CIC
- Citizens UK
- Stand Up To Racism
- Gurpreet Bhatia DL – Sant Nirankari Mission
Mexek Project – providing opportunities and support to Kurdish women and children in Birmingham.
Sandwell Borough of Sanctuary
Our purpose and terms of reference
Sandwell Borough of Sanctuary is a network of groups and individuals with the collective aim of Sandwell becoming a registered and recognised ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ by October 1st 2020. Towards that end, the Sandwell Borough of Sanctuary has formed a working group that is developing a strategy, which will be agreed by the main supporting organisations. The strategy will state how the borough of sanctuary will be created and how those who join the network will work towards greater inclusion and equality for refugees and people seeking sanctuary, as well as greater public awareness.
We commit to building and growing the Sandwell Borough of Sanctuary Network through:
- A comprehensive commitment to awareness raising
- Getting involved in campaigning and advocacy
- Enabling community conflict resolution services for areas experiencing tension over new arrivals
- Refugee community involvement in festivals and cultural events
- Regular reviews which seek the views and suggestions of people seeking sanctuary and refugees.
We will arrange or provide:
- Opportunities for networking
- Workshops or talks for schools on sanctuary issues
- Drop-in sessions and welcoming activities for people seeking sanctuary
- Social and cultural events where people seeking sanctuary and local people interact
- Faith-based events promoting sanctuary and hospitality
- A programme of events and activities for Refugee Week
We will engage with:
- Business links to help refugees find work placements and mentoring
- Further and higher education providers
- Local media to publicise positive stories about sanctuary seekers
- Programmes for employment training and voluntary work
- Existing local networks for groups representing and working with sanctuary seekers
- Other groups across Sandwell with shared aims, in the expectation that such a conversation will lead to a mutually beneficial sharing of good practice
- Refugees and people seeking sanctuary in the Borough of Sanctuary group, including representation on its steering group or committee;
- The local authority, Sandwell Council and other relevant authorities.
We will build momentum and strengthen our partnerships by:
- Creating and owning a charter based on the values and goals on the City of Sanctuary Movement
- Gathering resolutions of support from many significant representative groups and organisations
- Setting up a steering group to drive the actions, and meet the targets and deadlines we set
- Encouraging supporting organisations (whether formally pledged or not) to turn their commitment into actions;
- Setting our own local targets and criteria to be met as milestones towards achieving our aims
- We will work with Sandwell Council in the determined hope that Sandwell will become a ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ with strong and meaningful local grassroots support.