City of Sanctuary Network groups and their supporters will gather at a national conference in Coventry on Thursday 23rd May. The conference titled ‘Welcoming Together’ will look at how towns, cities and local organisations can work together to increase participation and engagement of people seeking sanctuary. The conference is organised as part of the national City of Sanctuary’s Annual General Meeting.

The key-note speaker at the conference is Stephen Hale, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, one of the key organisations working with Asylum Matters, who are leading the Lift the Ban campaign.

Stephen Hale, CEO Refugee Action. Photo credit: Refugee Action

Some of the conference highlights will include presentation of the Sanctuary Champion Award by Sabir Zazai, Chair of City of Sanctuary to Lord Dubs. Conference participants will get the opportunity to hear Lord Dubs’ acceptance speech through video link.  A panel of experts by experience will also provide some highlights of what effective engagement and meaningful participation of people seeking sanctuary look like? This will be followed by a learning and sharing discussion facilitated by people seeking sanctuary on how to increase the engagement and participation of people seeking sanctuary at all levels within the Network, organisation and movement. And to explore how we can work together to raise the voice of people seeking sanctuary.

The conference will also see the launch of the City of Sanctuary book titled A Hundred Thousand Welcomes and Welcomes. This book is the story of City of Sanctuary from its beginnings in 2005 to 2018, told through a tapestry of personal stories about welcoming refugees. The stories come from all over the City of Sanctuary network and are told by people seeking sanctuary and local people who befriended them.

Participants will get the opportunity to join round-table discussions in a World Café style and share some learning on the following topics:

  • Sharing learning from running City of Sanctuary groups
  • Schools of Sanctuary
  • Universities of Sanctuary
  • Asylum Matters – Advocacy & Campaigning
  • Asylum Matters – Advocacy & Campaigning
  • Health Stream of Sanctuary
  • Maternity Stream of Sanctuary
  • Working with Local Authorities
  • Gardens of Sanctuary
  • Arts
  • Using awards as a strategic tool for movement building

There will be an opportunity for people to network during the conference and displays and materials from around the network . . Places are limited and if your group has not yet booked please book your place by through this link here.