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Inspiring National Conference Celebrating Sanctuary

Inspire! Celebrate! Network! – These were the key words of the day at Leeds Civic Hall on Monday 27th January attended by over 190 people from across the City of Sanctuary and Refugee network.

The event started with inspiring and moving music, poetry, films and a play from refugees and asylum seekers. Artists came from the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside and Wales representing a wide range of Refugee Arts groups including Arts on the Run and Platforma. Displays of art works and the wonderful work of the network were also a key feature.

Jonathan Ellis the CoS Vice Chair and Tiffy Allen National Coordinator gave inspiring speeches of welcome and celebration. New trustees were elected at the AGM to the National Trustees groups which widened the geographical and refugee representation. Examples of good practice were shared including the wonderful Newcastle Songs of Sanctuary and Stories of Sanctuary projects. Recognition of Bradford and Swansea as Cities of Sanctuary were celebrated as were two more exciting first time awards. REACHE North West who support refuge health practitioners into work was awarded the first Sanctuary in Health Award. West Yorkshire Play house was awarded the first Theatre of Sanctuary Award by the Lord Mayor of Leeds. The Playhouse are now touring Refugee Boy in nine other cities. All awards were accepted with grace and inspiring speeches reminding us that awards were just the first part of a journey to sustaining and celebrating sanctuary.

Lunchtime networking continued into the wide range of exciting workshops. These included all our streams (Arts, Schools, Maternity, Health, Faiths, Refuge Women, Welcome to our city projects) as well as the launch of a new project “What’s Going Wrong?” to document cases of Home Office malpractice during the asylum process and use this to inform and campaign for change. Cities as Decision makers shared the strategies behind the successful Destitution motions. The Syria and Resettlement workshop had an exciting edge informed by recent moves to welcome vulnerable Syrian refugees into the UK. The Sanctuary Summit meeting developed the idea to pull together the support for fairness, justice and dignity for asylum seekers across the sector and reinforce this movement, with a national Sanctuary Summit in Birmingham in late October.

One participant told us “It was inspiring and useful, fun and interesting. I wish I could attend all the workshops.”
The full report, including notes from each workshop is attached. Also attached the 2013 Report from the Chair Alan Thomas, The Treasurers Report (Gary Shaw) and a list of continuing, retiring and nominated Trustees for City of Sanctuary.

Attachment Size
CoS 2013 Report from the Chair 60.5 KB
CoS Treasures Report for AGM 28.5 KB
List of Trustees 2014 31 KB
CoS 2014 Conference Report 245.5 KB