December Edition

Welcome to the December newsletter with lots of good news stories, new resources and opportunities as well as ideas for action that you can take which will make a difference. We hope that you all find time for rest and rejuvenation during the winter festivities to prepare to embrace the new year. 

Please share this with supporters and wider networks.  
End of Year Message from Our Chief Officer 
Sian Summers-Rees 

As we look back over 2018 we can reflect on another incredible year for City of Sanctuary. Our network of groups, places and Streams of Sanctuary continues to grow and the breadth of welcoming activities, initiatives and projects undertaken by groups is truly phenomenal.
It is also been a great year for the City of Sanctuary UK organisation, we have increased our staff team and have been able to provide our network with more support and facilitate events that have been bigger and better than in the previous year.

We thank everybody involved in City of Sanctuary for your dedication and hard work – and we approach 2019 in the hope that the UK will become more welcoming and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.
News from around the Network
Towards a fairer asylum system
After the successful Sanctuary in Parliament there is still time for the whole network and our thousands of supporters to keep the momentum going by engaging their MPs with the 3 crucial campaigns around the right to work, family reunion and a time limit for detention. Please read more about the day here and read about what you can do to influence change here.  For pictures click here and look out on social media for videos which we will post when available. 

If you attended the event and have not yet submitted your feedback survey, please follow the link in the email you were sent. Your feedback will be really important to us in evaluating the event, planning next year's and for ongoing campaigns work. 
Successful Regional gatherings
People from across the South East, London, South West and Wales came together to learn and explore how we can further the movement by sharing good practice and  inspirational stories. Read more about the inspirational days below:
University of Sanctuary Awards
We welcome three new universities who have worked hard to receive University of Sanctuary Awards, two in England and the first in Wales join our growing network of Universities of Sanctuary! Well done to the staff and students for their commitment in creating a a culture of welcome and inclusiveness within their universities.  There is now a JISC email discussion group for University practitioners interested in sanctuary scholarships and Universities of Sanctuary. You can subscribe here.
Football Club of Sanctuary 

Congratulations to staff and players involved at Tongwynlais Football Club, Cardiff for  their commitment to making football in Wales a welcoming and safe place for all. They've offered sanctuary to four players who have fled violence and persecution. Football is a great way to make friends, integrate and have fun!

Sanctuary Breaks

Sanctuary breaks are an excellent way to connect sanctuary seekers with local people who wish to host them for a short period – a day, a weekend or even a week.    People seeking sanctuary in Doncaster describe their special weekend at the Quaker run guesthouse at Grasmere in the Lake District. Members of Rivers of Gold - a new charity in Birmingham had a great day out at Llangorse and The Mill, Talgarth.  Villagers in greater Lincolnshire continue to host sanctuary seekers from Midlands and Yorkshire cities for up to a week at a time providing therapeutic space when needed.

Home Office and Health News 

The data sharing Memorandum of Understanding (M0U) between NHS Digital, the Department of Health and the Home Office, which gave the Home Office access to confidential patient information to aid immigration enforcement, has been scrapped following a successful legal challenge.  Congratulations to the Migrant Rights Network for their victory.  More information here.  

The Royal College of Midwives has responded to a new report from the Independent Chief Inspectors of Borders and Immigration on the Home Office's management of asylum accommodation provision. More information on this story on our maternity stream pages.

Campaigns and Actions

Write to Your MP 

We are still mobilising the network and our supporters to write to their MP regarding the 3 policy asks which we raised in Sanctuary in Parliament. These are around the right to work, an end to indefinite detention and an extension of family reunion. We believe that these are winnable policy changes in the next Immigration Bill and so we urge everybody to continue talking to their MP and writing about these issues asking for their support. Full information can be found here. Please also circulate the information around your networks.

Petition the Home Secretary re-Family Reunion

This petition from the Families Together Campaign, a coalition of which we are members, can be found on various websites including Refugee Council,  Amnesty International UK, Oxfam and Refugee Action. Please share widely as this is one of our key policy asks, which we believe may be winnable in the next Immigration Bill.

Catch up with Unlocking Detention 

If you missed the social media Unlocked18 campaign you can catch up with news, blogs and some incredibly moving stories on the Unlocking Detention website here. There is still a lot of awareness to be raised around this inhumane policy which we are trying to reform with the campaign for an end to indefinite detention.
Sanctuary in the Arts survey
Please fill this short questionnaire to find out how arts organisations are working with refugees and/or engaging the public around issues affecting refugees and sanctuary seekers. The survey will help City of Sanctuary develop an Arts Resource Pack to help equip arts organisations with the resources to engage with refugees and sanctuary seekers in their work.
Lift the Ban 
The right to work for people seeking sanctuary is one of our policy asks in this year's Sanctuary in Parliament which we all need to continue to promote.  We are proud to be members of the "Lift the Ban" coalition and urge you to please continue to share the petition.  You can get your Lift the Ban activism pack here and here is a Briefing for Local Authorities which you can use to engage your city council.   
Events, Resources and Opportunities
Bradford City of Sanctuary is ten years old! 
Congratulations to Bradford City of Sanctuary on their wonderful film giving voice to local people about their City of Sanctuary in celebration of their 10th anniversary. You can see the film here. Please share widely on your social media.
Launch of Gardens of Sanctuary 
Gardens of Sanctuary was launched last month at the Permaculture Association AGM in London. The fabulous new Resource Pack, case studies and more information can be found on the Gardens of Sanctuary website. Please help to promote this new stream of work by sharing the resources with your local community gardens and city farms to encourage them to engage with people seeking sanctuary.
New Video to Support Asylum Appeals
A new film has been developed through a partnership with Exeter University and Asylum Aid, aims to inform people seeking sanctuary about their appeal process at the  First-tier Tribunal. See the film here and please share via social media. 
New Report on Destitution from The Red Cross
 New research from the British Red Cross: Still an Ordeal: The Move-on Period for New Refugees has critically revealed that the introduction of universal credit has led to an incompatibility between the move on period and the minimum 5 week waiting period for the first benefit payment leaving refugees facing near certain destitution. Please promote this report widely, particularly to your MP and via your social networks where you can use #dignitynotdestitution
New Report on Access to Health Care by EHRC 
  The Equality and Human Rights Commission have published a new report which explores the lived experiences of accessing healthcare among people seeking sanctuary and those who have had their claim for asylum refused, as well as the experiences of health service providers working with these communities. The report provides recommendations for changes required to ensure that people seeking and refused asylum can access their rights to healthcare. 

Arts Stream of Sanctuary 
 City of Sanctuary has long promoted arts events which raise awareness around sanctuary issues and are delighted to be involved in the "Far from the Home I Love" tour by internationally acclaimed pianist Margaret Fingerhut. We are also seeking expertise from arts organisations to develop a resource pack to promote this area of work.  Please send this article to your local arts organisations which support our vision of welcome and engage them in our survey.
Active Communities Funding
There is an opportunity for funding to support well-being/connecting people/community cohesion projects. There are different timescales for application to the People's Health Trust for groups who have been constituted for at least 3 months. For further information click here.
Job Opportunities 
  • Asylum Matters  is recruiting a Campaigns Manager for the North East.  This is a full-time post and the deadline for applications is 14 December. Click here for further information.
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