This is what happened in April, in Preston City of Sanctuary. Please feel free to share it with your network.
Preston City of Sanctuary Open Meeting
On Monday 24th April at St Stephen’s Church in Broadgate, Preston City of Sanctuary had an open meeting with charities, faith groups, local schools’ representatives, UCLan lecturers and members of the public. Our special thanks to Refugee Action, UCLan, Hello Preston!, St Stephen’s Church, Job Centre Plus and Talk English, and all the others that have participated.
The open meeting is an excellent forum for network and feedback, where we learn what other groups are doing to support refugees and asylum seekers, as well as discuss how we can support their projects. If you’d like to present your group’s ideas, or would like to introduce yourself and get introduced to other local groups, please save the date for our next Open Meeting: Monday 2nd October @ 5.30pm.
Destitution on the Rise – See APPG Report in full
On Tuesday 25th April, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees published their report “Refugees Welcome?”, following an inquiry carried out by a cross-party panel of Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords. As already suggested by local organisations, among the main findings is that newly-recognised refugees are more likely to face destitution than people brought to the UK via resettlement schemes. There is little support for the former group after an asylum claim is granted, as they struggle to access housing and other services on their own. Preston City of Sanctuary, along with other local organisations, is currently building a network to tackle immediate issues around destitution. Additionally, Boaz Trust in Manchester is running a scheme and they are looking for volunteers for a steering group. If you are looking for support or would like to help, please contact us via email or Facebook. See APPG Report in full here.
Sanctuary: Lancashire Asylum and Refugee Conference
If you are part of an organisation working with refugees and asylum seekers, are a campaign activist, or have influence on policy making, you may be invited to the first Sanctuary Conference in Lancashire. This conference is organised by a large group of organisations including local councils and charities, targeting key people working with asylum and refugees and will provide workshops to increase awareness around practical issues regarding education, health, employability and many more.
Details: Thursday 6th July at Gujarat Centre, Preston, with registration fee of £20 to cover food and admin expenses. If you have not been invited but would like to attend, please let us know by contacting us via email or Facebook. This is an invitation-only event and tickets are limited.
We are opening a bank account!
In light of donations, we are officially opening a bank account. Watch this space for more information.
FREE Training Opportunity with Asylum Matters
Asylum Matters is a national project that aims to facilitate a number of advocacy initiatives at a local and national level. Due to recent partnership with City of Sanctuary, volunteers and representatives of organisations who work with asylum seekers can now have free training around asylum issues, including awareness of process and campaigning. Please contact us via email or Facebook if you would like to attend a session, and we will arrange a date for a session on a topic of your choosing.
Film Night @ Continental: screening documentary ‘Island of All Together’ to educate wider public around refugee experience. The 20-minute documentary exposes the realities of Syrians fleeing conflict as they embark on their journey to Europe. Footage shows conversations amongst Syrians and European holidaymakers. The film follows short personal histories of audience members and will finish with a discussion aimed for participants to feel as an Island of Altogether. All proceeds go to Hello Preston!, a family-learning project to encourage integration of Syrian families into Preston. When: Tuesday 23rd May at 6.45pm. Where: Continental – South Meadow Lane, Preston PR1 8JP.
Fun International Football with local amateur team: on Sunday 23rd April, we had an amazing day playing football with local refugees, asylum seekers and amateur footballers from Preston. It was a great activity which not only allowed people to exercise, but also bond and make new friends. Amongst the nationalities, we had people representing England, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Venezuela and Sudan. This will happen throughout the year, so do not hesitate to contact us here if you would like to play with us too! Everyone is welcome: men and women!
Call for volunteers for a family day out in Blackpool
On Saturday 13th May, Syrian families will meet their fellow countrymen and women living in Blackpool and Pendle for a fun family day out. We are looking for volunteers who would like to get involved and meet new people. Contact us here.
Call for refugee artists and musicians in Preston
If you work with refugees and asylum seekers you might have noticed at least one artist within your group. We are calling for musicians, dancers, singers and performers who would like to present their art to the public in a friendly environment. Ideally, this would be part of the Refugee Week 2017. Please contact us here if you’d like to introduce your artists to us.
Got anything to say? Let us know your thoughts!
You can contact us for any queries you might have, from requesting information to getting involved. Also, you are welcome to use this space to share your thoughts and news regarding refugees and asylum seekers in Preston. Don’t forget that organisations and members of the public are welcome to attend our Open Meetings – our next Open Meeting is on the 2nd October at 5.30pm, venue to be confirmed.