6th September 2017


Hello listeners. Simply a quick share of a press release from the good people at Swindon City of Sanctuary who are a year old!

Here’s their Facebook page – which just happens to have me in a picture on the front. Gosh, I get everywhere!

Outside artsite with Swindon City of Sanctuary

Swindon City of Sanctuary hosts Regional Meeting –  a year on from launch

Swindon city of sanctuary logo

Just a year since the launch of Swindon City of Sanctuary, we are delighted to host a regional meeting for the National Charity, bringing together people who have formed their own cities/towns/villages of Sanctuary from all over the South West, Wales and even Ireland!

It’s promising to be an exciting and inspiring day, taking place at Los Gatos in Old Town, where lunch will be served to all in attendance. Food is being cooked by Los Gatos and presented by some of the refugees who’ve donated recipes for our very popular Pop-Up Restaurants and for “Sanctuary Tapas”, an initiative created by Los Gatos as part of their pledge to support Swindon City of Sanctuary in making Swindon a Welcoming, Supportive and inclusive place to live.

With a welcome from Swindon City of Sanctuary’s Chair, Shareen Campbell and Development Worker, Nicola Wood, there will be talks from the national charity’s Chief Officer, Sian Summer-Rees, as well as from delegates from Wales who are working on a “Wales, Nation of Sanctuary” project. Delegates from across the region will share ideas and successes from their areas. “The idea is we’ll all go away motivated and full of new ways we can make our cities more welcoming,” said Forward Maisokwadzo, organiser of the meeting.

It’s been a busy year for all involved with Swindon City of Sanctuary. We were very grateful to receive funding from the late Lord Joel Joffe, through his Charitable Trust. Since then, we have successfully piloted a hosting scheme called ‘Room for All’ in which Swindon residents with a spare room sign up to become hosts on a short-term basis, for refugees who might otherwise become homeless after receiving their right to remain in the UK. This gives them a vital safe place to be, whilst awaiting important documents to enable them to work and find alternative accommodation.

In June, Swindon City of Sanctuary took a lead in organising Swindon’s biggest Refugee Week to date, with the support of local businesses and charities such as The Harbour Project, Voluntary Action Swindon & Swindon Viewpoint amongst many others. Events took place throughout the week, including a community cinema, art exhibitions, live music and a Global Tea Party . It was a huge success.

We have also started a weekly Thursday evening event in partnership with the stylish Darkroom Espresso Café and The Harbour Project. It’s a relaxed get together over coffee, board games and live music and everyone is welcome (that means you!)

Development Worker, Nicola Wood, said:

“We are thoroughly excited to be hosting this year’s regional meeting for City of Sanctuary. It’s a wonderful way for us to celebrate how much we have achieved in the last year. It’s fantastic to be part of a growing movement to make the UK and Ireland a safe, welcoming place for all who live here, especially for those who have had to flee from war and persecution. We are sure to come away on Thursday inspired and motivated to continue our work.”

Chair, Shareen Campbell added, “We live in a global community and it’s so important to show compassion, to have empathy and offer friendship to all our neighbours in need, no matter who they are, or what their background may be. For me this epitomises what the City of Sanctuary movement is about, creating a welcoming, inclusive place for all who live in our cities, towns or villages and this is at the heart of all we do”.


This is a closed meeting but please feel free to contact the below people for further information:

• For information/detail about the event or to attend to take pictures please contact:
Forward Maisokwadzo – 07982136368 / Forward@cityofsanctuary.org
• For information about the lunch, sanctuary tapas/pop up restaurant please contact Shareen Campbell – 07716087361
• For further information about Swindon, City of Sanctuary and its future plans, Nicola Wood, Development Worker on nicola@swindon.cityofsanctuary.org
For information about how to pledge support, or how you can help, contact info@swindon.cityofsanctuary.org or see https://swindon.cityofsanctuary.org
Information about the national charity, City of Sanctuary:

City of Sanctuary is a movement to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK. Our goal is to create a network of towns and cities throughout the country which are proud to be places of safety for people seeking sanctuary and helping them integrate into their local communities.

The City of Sanctuary movement began in October 2005 in Sheffield. Since then, we have supported the development of over 90 City of Sanctuary initiatives in towns and cities across UK and Ireland. We believe the ‘sanctuary message’ of welcome and inclusion is needed in all spheres of society and as such we are committed to helping schools, universities, health and maternity services, theatres and arts centres, churches and other faith centres, sports, communities, businesses and homes become ‘places of sanctuary’. A key element of these ‘streams of sanctuary’ relationships is awareness raising, telling the true stories of refugees to those who never hear them.