Wales Cities of Sanctuary

A People and Places Funded Project

This project has now come to an end. However, we will continue some of the work of Cities of Sanctuary through the Asylum Rights Programme.

What Our Vision Looked 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 worked 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, etc.
  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

How We Addressed Specific Needs and Brought About Practical Action:

The funding enabled 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 worked 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

For more information about the brilliant work we did:

Swansea City of Sanctuary

A Nation of Sanctuary

Wales Cities of Sanctuary