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Sanctuary awards are provided by the network of local groups and City of Sanctuary UK to recognise and celebrate mainstream organisations’ commitment to our values and vision of welcome and inclusivity and enabling them to become active participants in the City of Sanctuary network. It is an opportunity to celebrate and share good practice as well reflect on how practice can be improved.

Any community group, private organisation, public sector service or other bodies which contribute towards the vision of welcome can apply for the award by signing up to our charter values and principles and demonstrating their commitment using the following process: 

  • Learn: find out what it means to be seeking sanctuary; and be actively involved in awareness raising.
  • Embed: take positive action to make welcome and inclusion part of the values of your organisation or community, to support sanctuary seekers and refugees, and to include them in your activities.
  • Share your vision and achievements: let others know about the positive contribution refugees make to our society and the benefits of a welcoming culture to everyone.

This process is to be interpreted as appropriate and implemented within their specific context by the group or organisation seeking the award. The process is underpinned by our values and broader principles, as outlined in the City of Sanctuary Charter.

Sanctuary Awards have been developed in conjunction with schools, universities, arts organisations and others. Examples of best practice continue to emerge and we will promote these through specific frameworks for evaluation.

In this way, we expect to spread and sustain exemplary practice in welcome and engage a wider section of society into the growing movement towards our vision of welcome and inclusion, by:

  • the creation of safe places across every sphere and sector of society
  • promotion of the voices and celebration of the contributions of people seeking sanctuary
  •  increased understanding of why people seek sanctuary and the difficulties they experience whilst here
  • increasing the collective voice of the network, to advocate for and alongside sanctuary seekers
  • celebrating good practice and encouraging reflection on how practice can be improved.

Read the other pages in this section for more information or contact us

The Awards Process Guidance for Applicants

Award applications usually start with a conversation with the local group or a national officer if no local group is available.

Step 1 – Contact your local group to pledge support and connect with their / your shared vision

Step 2 – Pledge your organisation to work towards a culture of welcome through  your local CoS group and by signing up to City of Sanctuary as a Supporting Organisation, the CoS Charter and to the national newsletter

Step 3 – Produce a plan (with support of local group) using the process of LEARN, EMBED, SHARE
Include how you plan to incorporate the CoS network principles (where applicable) within the organisation and what can be appropriately embedded within your context.

Step 4 – Submit a written application for an award using the Awards Application form.

Here is some guidance on what your written application needs to include:

  • The written application needs to provide evidence which demonstrates how your organisation has used the three step process of learn, embed and share and how through following the process the values and principles in the charter are being upheld.
  • Evidence can be collected in a variety of ways and can include self-evaluation, photos and testimony, strategic plans, training records, policies and procedures and through consulting with sanctuary seekers.
  • Applications should be no longer than 4 pages, including supporting evidence. Only photos or organisational documents can be submitted in addition to these 4 pages.
  • Please be aware that City of Sanctuary may use any information you supply to share best practice or for publicity / presentations. If you include quotes / photographs, please confirm that this is acceptable to persons concerned (we’ll check with you if photo permissions are not made clear).

Step 5 – The nomination will be appraised by a Sanctuary Recognition panel which will normally include as a minimum, a local member of City of Sanctuary, an asylum seeker and an expert in the field. The panel may request a visit to the nominated organisation during the appraisal, and will usually involve a conversation between key members of staff, users of the organisation and the panel.

Step 6 – Once the award is agreed, plans to be made for its presentation to include a celebratory event/ media statements etc. you are making a public declaration of support for sanctuary seekers and City of Sanctuary. Your organisation can either accept the CoS award certificate templates or design their own and use the CoS logo.

Step 7 –The conversations begun during appraisal will continue between the local group and the organisation and inform a review at least every three years, when an updated certificate of recognition can be issued.