The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ we can bring about the changes we want to see (Our Future Story)
“really informative” “inspiring” “thought provoking” “very powerful” “a brilliant session”
“This was a very empowering meeting” – Marie-Elyse Numuhoza
“Great participation one and all!” – Shams Samsoudini
Our first online Network Voice was an excellent consultation meeting with the City of Sanctuary network about our strategic objectives focussing on building the movement for a welcoming environment. Thanks to CoS UK Honorary President, Sabir Zazai for his welcome:
“This is such an antidote to all the negativity to see colleagues from every corner of the UK coming together to discuss how we can work together to create a welcoming environment. This turnout in itself is enough that we are not for hostility but we are for welcome and compassion. Thank you everyone for being here.”
Chair of Trustees, Jonathan Ellis inspired us all on why movement building is more important than ever and explained the power of writing and challenging our “future story”. Jonathan outlined our distinctive qualities: our social reach and ability to mobilise wider society through our streams work; our belief in contact theory and the power of our common humanity to be the change and speak with one voice. He also talked about our contribution to the Asylum Reform Initiative and the potential of the new coalition Together with Refugees.
Chief Officer, Sian Summers-Rees explained our charter, our current strategic objectives, our theory of change and asked
- What are the changes we want to see?
- What do we need to do to get there?
- Where should City of Sanctuary UK focus their efforts and their resources?
Amani Yahya – Co Chair of Trustees, gave a powerful presentation on the engagement and participation of people with lived experience asking “How can we ensure that people seeking sanctuary are empowered to be leaders?” She outlined our work so far including Sanctuary Ambassador programme , Sanctuary in Politics courses, Operational Advisory Group (made up of people with lived experience), opportunities to join the board of trustees, the “Listen and Learn from Us” panel at the 2019 conference
Trustee Richard Williams took us through an interesting presentation the importance of messaging and understand our audience – especially the “ambivalent and persuadable middle” He also introduced the helpful messaging guide from Freedom from Torture.
The lively break out sessions reflected on the what, how and why for our future story. We also inspired each other by sharing brilliant practice across the network and discussed our challenges. All feedback is being collated and will inform our next Network Voice session. Look out for this on our Latest Events page or in the CoS UK monthly newsletter.
Recording and Slides
Jonathan summarised the energy and passion in the meeting for challenging the prevailing negative rhetoric and reminded us how we can learn from both our successes and failures.
Quotes from the chat
“It has been really informative and inspiring – as well as thought provoking in terms of how and what the messaging is, but also challenging around how we can add value within our own city to support and profile the amazing work going on across the local authority, local groups, education, culture and migrant specific support groups and how to ensure the voice and experience of those seeking sanctuary is heard and shared” Declan Baharini
We are the existential threat to the government’s new immigration plans, not the other way around! It doesn’t take many letters to an MP for them to notice! Richard Williams
“Thank you to all and the host for an effective meeting. I have learned more today. All useful information.” Florentine
“Be good to one another to create a resilient and courageous movement that reflects the qualities of those seeking sanctuary.” Sabir Zazai
“Thank you all! Plenty to take back and share.” Cristina Bennett