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Sandwell Council is now a Council of Sanctuary

We are delighted to award Sandwell Council as a Council of Sanctuary: a recognised as a place of welcome for all.

This award recognises Sandwell’s Borough of Sanctuary partnership made up of local voluntary sector partners and residents who want to make Sandwell a place of welcome. Key partners working together with Sandwell Council include Bearwood Community Hub and Smethwick-based charity, Brushstrokes.

Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Sandwell Council Leader, said: “Sandwell is a place with both a strong sense of community and a rich history of migration and we are proud of our work to help new arrivals. We are determined to give those who are seeking sanctuary in Sandwell the support they need to make their home in our borough.

“We want Sandwell to be a welcoming place for all, whether they have newly arrived in the borough, were born in Sandwell, or have a long history of their families migrating to the borough.

“We are delighted to be given the Council of Sanctuary Award which recognises all the work we do to make everyone welcome in Sandwell.”

The award comes following Thimblemill Library in Smethwick becoming the first in the UK to gain ‘Library on Sanctuary’ status in 2017 and more recently STEPS Centre gaining the ‘School of Sanctuary’ award earlier this year.

Maggie Filipova-Rivers, City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network Lead, said: “Being small part of Sandwell Council’s journey to being recognised as a ‘Council of Sanctuary’ has been an absolute pleasure. The dedication from staff and councillors to protect and serve vulnerable people has been inspirational. Their very ambitious new Sanctuary Strategy will serve as a good practice example to many local authorities around the UK.”

In Sandwell, the 2021 Census found that almost one in four (23.6%) usual residents were born outside the UK, compared with one in six nationally – this proportion puts the borough in the top 50 local authorities across England & Wales for this measure. In the last decade, this proportion has increased by 7.7%.

Learn more about the Local Authority of Sanctuary Network here.