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Sheffield City Council has voted unanimously to adopt the City of Sanctuary Manifesto, which aims to make Sheffield a city that takes pride in the welcome it offers to people in need of safety.

The Manifesto has been developed by the movement’s 90 local supporting organisations, including schools, community centres, faith groups and community forums across the city. It sets out ambitious goals for the city, including making sure that ‘asylum-seekers and refugees are fully included in the activities and membership of local community groups’, and that ‘host communities receive support to enable them to integrate asylum-seekers and refugees.’

There are also goals to ensure that people seeking sanctuary in Sheffield are able to access essential services such as education, health and transport.

At the Council Meeting on 4th February, Mr David Price, the Chair of Sheffield’s Church Action on Poverty group, told Councillors,

“Sheffield has often given a lead to other parts of the country. This is what happened 18 months ago when the Council pledged its support for City of Sanctuary. Since then, at least nine cities are following our lead, including Coventry, Oxford and even mighty London. But leadership brings responsibilities. We must make sure that our arrangements for refugees and asylum seekers are of the high standard set out in the City of Sanctuary Manifesto.”

Sheffield is the first city to develop its own City of Sanctuary Manifesto. It is an experiment in ‘bottom-up democracy’, and we are delighted that it has now become official Council policy. The Council motion also requires the Chief Executive to report back within 3 months on progress made towards our goals, so watch this space…