Monday, 6 December 2010

Cities of Sanctuary

Sheffield, Huddersfield, Hull, Bradford, Leicester, Bristol, Swansea, Leeds...what do all these cities have in common? They are 'Cities of Sanctuary'. Cities of Sanctuary is a movement to create a culture of hospitality in towns and cities across Britain for those seeking asylum. These places commit to becoming places of safety and welcome for people who have fled persecution and terror in their own countries. Have you ever told someone you thought you could trust something in confidence only to find that it has been used to harm you? For many asylum seekers this kind of experience where the harm escalates into violence and deprivation for themselves and members of their family has been an everyday occurrence. A book that tells the story of two women - one British and the other fleeeing persecution - and gives a glimpse of the way that asylum seekers may experience their 'welcome' to the UK  is the Other Hand by Chris Cleave, Spectre 2008. It's an unusual and gripping story - certainly one you'll never forget once you have read it.

City of Sanctuary is a volunteer-led, grassroots movement which encompasses a network of clubs, charities, businesses, individuals and faith groups. To find out more, visit and read about what has happened in several cities. There's also a blog spot which you can access through the site where you can read the stories of asylum seekers. Very moving and interesting.  Leeds is just becoming a city of sanctuary....what about Ripon? There are towns invloved, too.

PS. I've just tried the link I've given you and it's not responding very well. If you can't activate it, try putting 'Sheffield city of sanctuary' into your search engine and it will take you to the site. Sheffield was the first such city. Links that don't work have to be high on my list of 'don't likes'!

1 comment:

  1. It strikes me that this is a much needed initiative, and it reflects the hard work and dedication of charities (such as PAFRAS in Leeds and 'Assist Sheffield') that are working so hard for these vulnerable people. I'll be holding this in my prayers - thank you for sharing the news! x