As we near the end of a year marked by the greatest refugee crisis in living memory, we’re delighted to announce that the Guardian/Observer has chosen City of Sanctuary as one of six refugee charities for its Christmas appeal. Look out for a feature article about our network in the Guardian this week, an Observer story about Schools of Sanctuary on Sun 6 Dec, and Guardian online City of Sanctuary news up to mid January.

We were chosen because we are a grassroots, volunteer-led movement spread across a large number of cities, towns and villages in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.  With a support base including villages and rural areas as well as big cities, we reach beyond the usual networks of dispersal cities and activists.  We promote, resource and facilitate expressions of welcome for refugees in a great variety of settings and ways.  Working alongside refugee members and supporters, we celebrate their contribution to society and help build bridges and connections with host communities.  We are already seeing how our networks of support can assist the new programme of resettlement for Syrian refugees, and we’re hoping this appeal will strengthen our networks and reach during these difficult times.

Our small team has been hugely stretched this year with unprecedented interest and support. We welcome the addition of over 20 new groups to our network, and we want to harness, equip and resource all the good will this represents. So we hope this Appeal will bring much-needed funds into the movement.  We intend to use the money raised for direct support to local groups especially new ones, to promote our vision nationally and to support asylum seekers and refugees to grow in confidence and speak out for themselves.  Local groups will be spreading the word about this appeal through social media and word of mouth, so anyone who supports refugees will get to know about it and will be encouraged to donate.

We are confident that our movement will grow in strength as a result of this appeal, and further our goal to see welcome for refugees become the norm across society.   See the story in The Guardian here. Donate straight to City of Sanctuary here.

Alan Thomas, National Chair

Tues 24 Nov

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