We have been working on a ‘vision statement’ for what a ‘Sanctuary in Yorkshire & Humber’ initiative might look like. This is what we have come up with so far. The next step will be to meet up with potential partner organisations to work out how to put this into practice. Please click the ‘Sign up as a supporter’ button on the right if you want to stay in touch, or contact us if your organisation would like to get involved or to find out more.
The ‘Sanctuary in Yorkshire & Humber’ initiative is a way to mobilise the goodwill of people throughout the area who want to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary.
In addition to existing City and Town of Sanctuary initiatives, it aims to build on Yorkshire & Humber’s history as a place of sanctuary and hospitality by creating opportunities for individuals and organisations working across the area to welcome and include people seeking sanctuary.
It will also provide criteria for working towards ‘official’ status as an area of Sanctuary, accredited by the national City of Sanctuary movement. These include:
- Six official Cities or Towns of Sanctuary in the area
- Involvement of refugee communities
- Support from key strategic bodies (eg Yorkshire & Humber Forum, Police Authorities, Fire Authorities, Yorkshire Universities etc)
- A strategy, agreed by the main supporting organisations, for how Yorkshire & Humber is to continue working towards greater inclusion of people seeking sanctuary
The wording for a resolution of support from individuals and organisations will be:
“[Organisation name] recognises the contribution of people seeking sanctuary to Yorkshire & Humber and is committed to welcoming and including them in our activities. We support Yorkshire & Humber becoming recognised as an area of Sanctuary for refugees and asylum-seekers.”
Practical Actions for Supporting Organisations
The two key actions we will ask supporting organisations to commit to:
1, Training for key staff in understanding needs and experiences of people seeking sanctuary.
2, Listening to and consultating with service users who are seeking sanctuary.
We will provide resources and contact information to enable supporting organisations to implement these actions.
The ‘Sanctuary in Yorkshire & Humber’ initiative will operate as a partnership between City of Sanctuary movements in Yorkshire and Humber, the Northern Refugee Centre, the Refugee Council and other relevant organisations.
In accordance with the core principles of the City of Sanctuary movement, Sanctuary in Yorkshire & Humber is an independent, grassroots movement to promote a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK. It aims to do this by creating opportunities for relationship between local people and those seeking sanctuary, and by promoting public education about the experiences and contribution of refugees in the area. It does not engage in political lobbying or anti-deportation campaigns.
Aims of the Sanctuary in Yorkshire & Humber initiative:
Help to shape and express the area’s commitment to the practice of sanctuary for people in need of safety.
Concentrate on broad-based, human-level networking, which can complement strategic work done by official structures.
Help supporting organisations to connect with refugee community networks and knowledge base.
Share examples of good practice in inclusion and hospitality throughout Yorkshire & Humber.
Enable and publicise the contribution of refugees to Yorkshire & Humber.
Provide a grassroots voice to strategic bodies, enabling them to hear the experience of people seeking sanctuary.
Encourage diverse approaches to inclusion of people seeking sanctuary within Yorkshire & Humber.
Provide a forum for mutual support for City of Sanctuary initiatives in Yorkshire & Humber.
Engage effectively with media at a Yorkshire & Humber level (eg television).