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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 people who are seeking asylum and people who are refugees, and to include them in your activities.
  • Share your vision and achievements: let others know about the positive contribution people seeking sanctuary 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

The Application

Step 1 – Contact your local group or a national officer if there is not a local group near you. They will be able to discuss your application and answer any questions you might have.

Step 2 – Pledge your commitment to work towards the values and principles of the City of Sanctuary charter by signing up as a Supporting Organisation. We also encourage you to sign up to monthly 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. We have recently launched an online application process which you are welcome to use although it is still in testing mode. If you do use it we would appreciate your feedback

NOTE: There are minimum criteria for all applications. Some streams have specific minimum criteria and guidelines which can be found in the following resource packs:

If you would like to order a copy of the relevant resource pack, please use this order form

For all other applicants, please use this set of generic minimum criteria

As well as the minimum criteria, your application should include the following:

  • Evidence demonstrating 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 collected in a variety of ways which 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).

The Appraisal

Step 5 – Your application will be appraised by a 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 as part of the appraisal, and will usually require a conversation between key members of staff, users of the organisation and the panel.

Step 6 – Once the award is agreed, plans can be made for its presentation which might 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 your own using the CoS logo.

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

Application forms

There are currently two ways to apply:

  1. By completing this Awards Application Form which can be printed out or downloaded and sent to your local City of Sanctuary group or regional coordinator (see The Awards Process for Applicants).
  2. By using our new Online Awards Application Form.

Feedback form

This feedback form will be used by your appraisal group to provide feedback on your application.

Certificate template and Logos 


Sanctuary Award Certificates and logos

Case studies

We welcome case studies to use as guidance and inspiration for others around the UK applying for Sanctuary Awards. If you would like to submit a case study, please use this form

Streams of Sanctuary

We are gradually developing specific resources and websites for the increasing number of Streams of Sanctuary that are part of the City of Sanctuary network. Use the following links to access the relevant websites. The following streams are in development
  • Shops of Sanctuary
  • Sports Clubs of Sanctuary
  • Businesses of Sanctuary