As we continue our work on building a movement for welcome and to reform the asylum process, many across the network are seeking advice regarding the coronavirus / Covid-19. The NCVO has published an excellent guide for small organisations and charities which can be found here.
The guidance is clear and comprehensive with links to further information and includes protection, planning and supporting beneficiaries / users. The guidance also provides information on supporting members of some communities who are experiencing acts of racism, discrimination and verbal abuse with the outbreak of the virus. Stop Hate UK are providing anyone experiencing or witnessing such discrimination with a confidential 24-hour third-party reporting service.
We recommend that City of Sanctuary groups check out and follow the NCVO guidance.
We also encourage groups working directly with people seeking sanctuary to reflect carefully on how to continue providing support whilst protecting everyone. We will all need to be creative as this crisis unfolds and we ask groups to share their ideas and new ways of practice with us so that we can share across the network. The City of Sanctuary UK team currently use Slack and Zoom as communication tools. The basic versions are free. Please share with us any other tools that your group might use to keep up support and connections.
Please try to find ways of making available guidance for all volunteers and people who are seeking sanctuary. Doctors of the World have worked with Clear Voice, British Red Cross and Migrant Help to provide simple and clear guidance in multiple languages. Further languages will be added as they become available. The one page guidance documents are available to download here:
We will be updating this post as the situation develops.
Some people seeking sanctuary have been tweeting their willingness to support elderly and vulnerable people with shopping etc. We are all in this together and new groups are springing up to support local communities. These provide an opportunity for people seeking sanctuary to contribute, and we would love to hear from your CoS group if you are making these connections.
We are aware of the loneliness of self isolation and that most people seeking sanctuary will not have access to the internet, further impacting on the stress and trauma facing this group. It’s important for us to find ways around the call for reduced social contact to protect high risk groups, so that we don’t inadvertently worsen the experience for people seeking sanctuary.
City of Sanctuary are reviewing the AGM and Annual Conference in Bradford in June and will keep you updated on our plans.
More detailed advice and FAQ for the public has also been published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in their six official languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
Other Ministry of Health guidelines:
Korean (South) Ministry of Health (한국어): Korean government guidelines and news about Coronavirus.
Farsi/Thai/Italian/Japanese/Korean/New Zealand Sign Language: