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Hackney launches first Borough of Sanctuary group

Hackney’s own Arcola Theatre will be playing host to the launch of the campaign to have the Borough accredited as a Borough of Sanctuary on Saturday March 12th 2011 1pm-3.30pm. Local writer and poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen will be reading some of his poetry and there will be free food, live music, and dancing, all in celebration of the contribution of the many people who have come to the borough over the years seeking sanctuary from war, poverty and persecution. Inderjit Bhogal, the founder of the movement, will be one of the speakers at the event.

Revd. Cathy Bird, a Christian minister in Hackney and one of the organisers of the campaign – which is led by an informal partnership of community, voluntary and faith-based groups – says “ The launch of this campaign is timely. For many years the Borough has had a reputation as a place of refuge and hospitality for people from all over the world who have come seeking a place of safety. Recent cuts mean that many vital services for migrants are facing closure and the capacity of the Borough to continue to be a place of welcome is seriously threatened. With the development of a new borough-wide Migrant Strategy it is hoped that Hackney will be able to continue to meet the needs of all its residents, including the most vulnerable and to celebrate the fact that we all benefit from living in a diverse community. As part of the Strategy, the Local Council will be asked to commit themselves to the challenge laid down by seeking to become a Borough of Sanctuary.”
The launch is open to anyone wishing to attend and there is no entry charge.