CoS UK launched the Celebrating Sanctuary 2021 Toolkit in March this year to support the network to to hold a ‘Celebrating Sanctuary’ online event as part of the mobilisation and build up to the new immigration plans which we knew would be hostile. We held a Celebrating Sanctuary week in late April and similar events were held in Refugee Week and to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
Click the image to download the toolkit.
We invited groups to:-
- Make a public declaration of support for sanctuary and promote the success story of City of Sanctuary
- Celebrate and promote the welcome offered to people seeking sanctuary across communities in all parts of the UK
- Celebrate the positive contribution that people seeking sanctuary have made to our communities
- Develop positive relationships with decision makers at local, national and UK level and raise their awareness of the welcome that is taking place in the communities they serve
We continue to encourage groups and the wider network to promote the positive stories of welcome from across their communities with their elected leadership. We especially promote invitations to the key influencers who have been involved in that welcome e.g. teachers, health professionals, faith leaders to demonstrate the wider community support for welcome, as well those with lived experience.
We want decision makers to be aware of the broad based alliances and support that there is for people seeking sanctuary as the Anti-Refugee Bill makes its way through Parliament and the House of Lords. The new immigration legislation will re-shape asylum in the UK. We believe that our positive narratives are essential to influencing change for a fair, effective, just and humane asylum process. Decision makers need to know that this is what their constituents want and agreement on welcome is a vital first step to relationship building and gaining eventual support for specific asks around upcoming amendments and various campaigns (such as #LiftTheBan. #FamiliesTogether #CloseTheBarracks etc.). Whether and which specific issues are raised or not will depend on the relationships and on the group context.
City of Sanctuary groups have wide networks and partnerships with whom they can work together to ensure successful events with MPs. Asylum Matters Campaign Managers and other local refugee support organisations are often willing and able to help plan and mobilise for such meetings.
if you are not in a group – you can still get together with your friends or colleagues to influence your MP and other decision makers by arranging a meeting to tell them how much you welcome people seeking sanctuary.