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How to set up a City of Sanctuary group

We are delighted that you are thinking about becoming a group that will work towards making your city, town, borough, village or region a welcoming place for all.

There is no single formula for developing a successful and effective City of Sanctuary group. Some groups have paid workers and a formal budget, whereas others are entirely voluntary. There are rich and varied resources on our website to give you ideas.

Want to know the benefits of getting up a City of Sanctuary group? See here.

What are the steps to setting up a City of Sanctuary Group?

  • Ensure a group does not already exist in your local area. You can do that here. There can only be one group per area.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Charter and Theory of Change.
  • Contact the coordinator for your area here to discuss setting up your group.
  • Your coordinator will then support you to do your research in order to:

1. Find out about your local context: Do people seeking sanctuary live in your area? e.g. resettled refugees; dispersed asylum seekers. What other refugee/community organisations are in your area and what do they do? Engage with others and invite them to share their experience and get involved.

2. Develop an action plan: In collaboration with the main refugee/community organisations identify what is needed to promote welcome and set out priorities, look at our Group Activities pages to get some ideas about what your group could do.

3. Develop a pledge of support: Gather resolutions of support from a significant and representative proportion of groups and organisations and encourage supporters to take positive action to welcome people seeking sanctuary.

4. Work with people seeking sanctuary: Ensure representation at a decision making level.

5. Engage with your local authority: Wherever possible encourage the local authority to join the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network and commit to becoming a Council of Sanctuary.

N.B. We expect groups to set their own targets and we no longer have a national recognition process (dispensed with in 2019)

Registering as a group

By registering as a City of Sanctuary group, you are agreeing to:

  • Work towards realising the City of Sanctuary vision across a specific place/area.
  • Incorporate the network principles and values in our work.
  • Connect people seeking sanctuary with other people living in the local community.
  • Act as a rallying cry to other organisations and individuals to offer welcome.
  • Be inclusive in generating a culture of welcome, involving different sectors such as education,  local government, health, sports and arts, as well as refugee organisations.
  • Work as an alliance between local people and people seeking sanctuary to run the group wherever possible and appropriate.
  • Be prepared to share successes, ideas and learning with other groups and the network.
  • Avoid bringing the name of City of Sanctuary into disrepute and to abide by the City of Sanctuary values in all that you do.
  • Ensure that you have an appointed safeguarding lead (their details must be clearly displayed on your website) and safeguarding policy and procedures appropriate to your context (see resources page for more information).
  • Complete an annual membership form updating all details and identify between three and five contacts to enable the City of Sanctuary UK to keep in touch (and to keep the team updated when changes to these contact details occur, providing full name, telephone and email  details for each contact where possible).
  • Complete an Annual Survey to update City of Sanctuary UK on activities and services.
  • Abide by the City of Sanctuary website agreement

In registering your details below, you have accepted to work towards our vision in a way which aligns with our values and network principles. You have also agreed to commit to the first stage in the process of becoming a group and the list of actions above.

*There can be only one group in a specific geographical area and groups should not be working on a single issue but be working towards our wider vision of welcome. 

If you wish to start a City of Sanctuary group, please contact the regional coordinator covering your area.

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