A new City of Sanctuary group in Portsmouth, led by British Red Cross and inspired by Journeys Festival International arrival in the city in 2016 held its initial meeting on Wednesday 20th September to explore ‘how Portsmouth can become a city of sanctuary.

The meeting hosted by British Red Cross, saw about 20 people from different groups, including an officer from Portsmouth City Council, Forward Maisokwadzo, National Media Officer & South West Coordinator, City of Sanctuary and Stephen Press, Chair of the Southampton City of Sanctuary group, David Hill, Director of ArtReach and his staff among. Mr Press shared Southampton CoS’ s journey of becoming a City of Sanctuary.

Malcolm Little, Service Manager: Refugee and International Tracing for British Red Cross who chaired the meeting spoke passionately about the idea of promoting welcome and safety for all, including refugees in Portsmouth. He made it clear City of Sanctuary (CoS) is not a British Red Cross initiative but a bigger movement which his organisation supports because “we share and believe in CoS values and principles”. The meeting agreed to come up with a vision for Portsmouth City of Sanctuary which is  in line with the City of Sanctuary Charter. They will also  identify a ‘Sanctuary Ambassador’ for the group. The high-profile figure would lead the group in raising awareness ahead of the group’s public launch event in the new year.

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