Wales Cities of Sanctuary

People and Places Funded Project

Following the successful submission of a BIG LOTTERY FUNDED People and Places application, Displaced People in Action (DPIA) were, in October 2014, awarded three year funding to work with Swansea and Cardiff Cities of Sanctuary,.

DPIA will manage the project in partnership with both the Swansea and Cardiff Groups. Most of the work will take place in the two cities with considerable joint work between them.

Wales- wide, the project will organise the second All Wales Conference to move us nearer to our vision of Wales as a Nation of Sanctuary

Our Vision: Long Term: For Wales to become a “Nation of Sanctuary”

Medium term vision:  For Cardiff and Swansea to become cities which:

  • Are welcoming to all
  • Are proud to offer sanctuary to those fleeing violence or persecution
  • Support and include asylum seekers and refugees
  • Celebrate their contribution to city life.

Our aims

  1. To transform the experience of asylum seekers and refugees living in Cities across Wales for the better.
  2. To make Wales a better place for everyone by spreading a culture of welcome and recognising the contribution of all to our cities

What would our vision look like in practice?

Wherever people seeking sanctuary go in Welsh cities – e.g. schools, services, voluntary groups, businesses, faith and community groups, their own neighbourhoods and streets– they would find people who welcome them, understand why they are here, support them, and, most important of all include them actively as participants, volunteers and members.

People seeking sanctuary and other residents work together to:

  1. Communicate the City of Sanctuary vision, raise awareness of refugee issues and share what is happening, e.g. through a refugee speakers team, website, social media, newsletters, exhibitions, press

  2. Collect pledges of support from organisations all over our cities, and support them to turn their pledges to action:
    1. within their own organisation
    2. by working with others in partnership projects or working groups

  3. Promote events and activities bringing locals and people seeking sanctuary together:
    1. on a social and celebratory level
    2. to work on issues defined as priority by asylum seekers and refugees

Addressing specific needs and bringing about practical action

The funding will enable us to develop the City of Sanctuary process to address needs identified by people seeking sanctuary

These include:

  • Isolation and transport problems
  • poverty and destitution
  • feeling misunderstood and under-valued
  • fear – of detention, forced removal, victimisation
  • unfair decisions
  • access to good legal help
  • shrinking and disappearing services
  • finding services difficult to access
  • unemployment
  • language help
  • the wish to contribute to our society

The Staff team will work alongside refugees, asylum seekers and other local people to:

Raise awareness in our cities of the challenges people seeking sanctuary face – and what they can offer through:

  • Building an effective refugee speakers team
  • City and Wales-wide publicity
  • Exhibitions, conferences, social media etc.
  • Bringing “big names” on board

Mobilise volunteers to develop practical projects and support existing work

  • Work in local neighbourhoods where asylum seekers are first housed
  • A volunteer “orientation scheme” where volunteers will visit newly arrived asylum seekers to welcome them and provide basic information
  • Initiate other voluntary projects to bring people together and meet immediate need – e.g. transport, mentoring

Build closer relationship with our supporters and help them to take action

  • Encourage and publicise action through Sanctuary Award schemes
  • Continue to bring service providers and refugee groups together in carefully planned workshops on particular topics, and partnership work
  • Support ongoing themed working groups – for example on mental health, schools, faith groups, children and family work
  • Organise events to bring people together
  • Encourage partnership and information sharing

Help us build the long term future of the City of Sanctuary Movement through working on a long term strategy, involving more people as volunteers, leaders and committee members

Find Swansea City of Sanctuary here:



We also have a website hosted by City of Sanctuary nationally.

Welcome to Swansea:

Could you give someone a warm Swansea welcome?

‘Welcome to Swansea’ is a project which aims to provide a warm welcome to asylum seekers and refugees (participants) when they first arrive in Swansea.

Participants will be met by a volunteer mentor who will introduce them to places, people and groups. The purpose of the project is to support participants to do the everyday things that are important to them. For instance volunteers might be involved in demonstrating bus routes, supporting to attend social groups or just getting to know Swansea a bit more.

DPIA’s Wales Cities of Sanctuary project are pleased to announce we are launching brand new ‘Wednesday welcome sessions’ starting from next week.

Every Wednesday between 12-2pm a group of welcome volunteers will be in Swansea Central Library to meet new arrivals and pass on local information about drop-ins, classes, transport etc. It’s also an opportunity for people to sign up to our mentoring programme if they feel this would be useful for them. The sessions are designed to be a one-off opportunity for people to get information they need and not a regular social activity.

If you are in contact with people who are newly arrived then please do pass this information on.

Please see flyer A (in English). We are working on translations and will add translated leaflets to our website for downloading when they are ready.

You are still welcome to refer people to our mentoring project directly in the usual manner by contacting a member of the teamIf you feel you’ve got what it takes to make a crucial difference at a pivotal point in someone’s life then please get in contact with Hannah: 07496 172 896

Speakers Team:

The Sanctuary Speakers are a team of volunteers which is the public face of City of Sanctuary. By speaking directly to organisations, many of which will be pledged supporters of City of Sanctuary, speakers provide a valuable insight into the life of refugees and asylum seekers.

Members of the Sanctuary Speakers get full training and support, as well as an opportunity to design the structure of the talks and workshops. If you would like to share your valuable experience as a member of the Sanctuary Speakers, please contact  for an application form.

Some of the organisations the Sanctuary Speakers have spoken to this year include Linden Church, Swansea Library staff, members of the Royal Institution of South Wales and Swansea ITeC.

More information about the role can be found on the role profile and leaflet below.
Volunteer role profile- Speaker
Sanctuary Speakers leaflet


We live by the motto “City of Sanctuary is what our supporters do”- we want everywhere across the city to be a place that welcomes and supports refugees and asylum seekers and a place that celebrates the contribution they can have.

We have a network of over 150 pledged supporters, including organisations, community groups, faith groups and businesses throughout Swansea.

If you belong to an organisation see if it is already pledged to us, and if it’s not get in touch to find out more.

If your organisation is pledged, why not invite the Sanctuary Speakers to deliver an awareness-raising session to your staff, trustees or volunteers. If you belong to a pledged organisation in Swansea, contact Eleri to discuss putting your pledge into action. Eleri can be reached on or 07496 172 898.

If you don’t represent an organisation, it doesn’t stop you from getting involved with our work. You can be an individual supporter too.

See our pledge form here (English Version)

See our pledge form here (Welsh Version)


‘City of Sanctuary’ is a movement of people across the UK and Ireland who seek to create a culture of hospitality and welcome for people seeking sanctuary. As well as two established ‘Cities of Sanctuary’ in Swansea and Cardiff, people across Wales have been responding to the refugee crisis in towns and villages across the country, setting up schemes which offer support and welcome.

The generosity and compassion of people in Wales should be recognized and celebrated. The Welsh Refugee Coalition, a coalition of organisations working in Wales with asylum seekers and refugees at all stages of their journey, supports the establishment of Wales as the world’s first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’. The Welsh Government can play its part in making this a reality by publicly supporting the movement, and by enacting policies and practices which promote safety and inclusion for all asylum seekers and refugees in Wales.

Over 120 people came to the Welsh Refugee Coalition’s event in the Senedd on 10th December, International Human Rights Day.  A powerful partnership of refugees, friends, organisations and Assembly Members talked about how we can make Wales the World’s first Nation of Sanctuary.

Have a look below at the briefing papers for AM’s to see the asks and vision for Wales as a Nation of Sanctuary.

English Version here

Welsh Version here


There’s plenty of different ways you can get involved with us!

Why not check out our volunteer opportunities. All our volunteers are offered induction training, regular supervisions and support, travel expenses and references after you have completed 30 hours of volunteering.

We have a variety of opportunities including two rather special roles – being a Sanctuary Speaker and a Welcome to Swansea Mentor.

Other opportunities we have on offer include administration, research and translation (into Welsh as well as languages including Tigrinya, Tamil, Banglasdeshi, Persian). If you are interested in any of these roles, contact Richenda on or 07496 172 895

If you belong to an organisation see if it is already pledged to us, and if it’s not get in touch to find out more. Pledged organisations pass a resolution of support and make action plans about what work their organisation can undertake to promote the vision of City of Sanctuary. We can help you with this- just get in touch. Pledged organisations are added to our mailing list and will get monthly updates with upcoming events and ways to get involved.

If your organisation is already pledged, why not invite the Sanctuary Speakers to deliver an awareness-raising session to your staff, trustees or volunteers. If you belong to a pledged organisation in Swansea, contact Eleri to discuss putting your pledge into action. Eleri can be reached on or 07496 172 898.

Don’t worry if you’re not part of an organisation, you can still get involved- you can be an individual supporter.

Contact us:

Contact one of DPIA’S Swansea based Wales Cities of Sanctuary staff at:  07496 172895  – Swansea Co-ordinator.          07496 172898    – Swansea Development Worker.     07496 172896   – Swansea Integration Officer.

Send any post you have for us to:

Voluntary Action Centre
7 Walter Road

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