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St Albans Council looking to become a Council of Sanctuary

Another council embracing welcome and rejecting hostility.

This week, St Albans City and District Council in Hertfordshire announced plans to seek Council of Sanctuary status so it is recognised as a safe haven for people forced to flee their homes.

They have now decided to work towards joining the Local Authority network as an awarded member. They will initially become a non-awarded member by signing up to the network’s vision and values.

The Council will then go through an appraisal process where its commitment to the network’s cause is assessed. This will include demonstrating that the Council has embedded the concept of welcome and inclusion at all levels of the organisation.

This application to join the sanctuary movement follows the work the Council has undertaken with partners to resettle more than 50 Syrian refugees.

More recently, Council staff have inspected dozens of local homes for Ukrainians fleeing the war to may sure they are appropriate.

Councillor Sarwar Shamsher, the Committee’s Vice-Chair and Lead Councillor for Equality and Inclusion, said after the meeting:

I am delighted that we can now work towards becoming a City of Sanctuary, a move that I am sure will have the support of our residents.

We have a proud record in St Albans of welcoming people who are fleeing war and persecution. That has been shown by the work we undertook to resettle many Syrian refugees and the way our community has responded to the Ukrainian crisis with more than 100 of our residents applying to the Homes for Ukrainians scheme.

Becoming an awarded member will bestow recognition on St Albans for those achievements.

It will also demonstrate our commitment to continue to provide support, dignity and welcome to refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

Read the council’s full statement here.

In the last few years, we at City of Sanctuary UK have engaged with over a hundred local authorities. Many are now working towards the Local Authority of Sanctuary award.

This is HUGE. Find out more about our Local Authority network by clicking here.