7th November 2021

SWINDON CITY OF SANCTUARY celebrates after receiving 5 years’ funding from the National Lottery to help them bring Sanctuary Awards to sectors across the town to contribute to Swindon becoming a more welcoming, inclusive town for all

Lottery Award for Swindon Community Group
Local community group, Swindon City of Sanctuary, is celebrating. How so? They’ve received an award of about £235,000 in National Lottery funding. This windfall will support its work helping to make Swindon a welcoming & inclusive for all town. One that’s proud to welcome people fleeing war and persecution to find safety here. The group, based in Swindon town centre, will use the funds to bring the national City of Sanctuary scheme of sanctuary awards to sectors across the town.

Lottery Award for Swindon Community Group -Swindon city of Sanctuary logo

The sanctuary awards focus on encouraging the town’s communities to come together. And in doing so embed the concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion within their professions, sectors and organisations. Participants can gain national Sanctuary Award accreditation through following a series of guidelines:

1. Learn about what it means to be seeking sanctuary, migration and Swindon’s diverse, multi-cultural community.

2. Take positive action to embed concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion within the organisation, profession or sector.

3. Be proud to share the vision and achievements.

The focus of the awards

The Awards will focus on schools and libraries for the first three years of funding. The funding will enable the charity to employ new staff. It will also help to safeguard the future of the charity. That in turn will enable it to make a significant increase in the positive effect it has across the Swindon community.

Swindon City of Sanctuary has been running since 2016. It became a registered charity in 2018. They have two staff members and are now advertising for two extra roles. That’s thanks also to funding from the Wiltshire Community Foundation & a dedicated team of volunteers and board of trustees.

Swindon City of Sanctuary grew from a group of local people compelled to support the increasing numbers of people from across the world seeking refuge. As war, hunger, political turmoil and climate change have continued to drive people from their homes and families. Since 2016, over 1,000 people and organisations in Swindon have supported Swindon City of Sanctuary’s cause. They’ve worked with the charity to make Swindon a welcoming and inclusive place for all. This no matter who they are or where they’ve come from.

We’re open

Alongside the new sanctuary awards, Swindon City of Sanctuary runs an evening social project called ‘We’re Open’, at The Bakers café in the GWR railway village, every Thursday evening. Open to all, it’s a place for the community to meet, have free hot drinks, play boardgames and listen to live music. Something much needed after many felt isolated during the pandemic.


The charity also run the FAB! (Family Activity Boxes) project which began during the first lockdown. It now provides resources for EAL children in schools. With over 130 languages spoken in Swindon, the FABs are a welcome addition for schools.

The FABs contain a mixture of kinaesthetic, literacy and oracy puzzles, games, activities and multi-lingual books. Schools can use them to support their work with multilingual children.

The FAB project also assists schools in setting-up culturally supportive learning environments through Global Libraries. Thus the project encourages schools to invest in a range of culturally diverse books. ie. books with positive role models for all young people and / or books written by writers from culturally diverse backgrounds.

The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes, is the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

The new funding will see Swindon City of Sanctuary’s work expand across the town and thus affect how services will engage with the public. It will also help to support organisations in their EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) journeys.

The charity manager

Nicola Wood, Charity Manager said: ‘We’re delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we’ll be able to press on with exciting plans. Plans that are community led through our Sanctuary Awards. It’s our belief that, through better understanding of each other we can bridge divides and be a true beacon of welcome and hope in our town. The funding will allow us to expand our positive reach across the community. We look forward to partnering with the National Lottery Community Fund over the coming months and years.’

Lottery Award for Swindon Community Group - funding partmers

Opportunity knocks

There are opportunities to join Swindon City of Sanctuary at this exciting time via two paid roles. One for a ‘Streams and Awards Co-ordinator’ and the other as a ‘Volunteer Co-ordinator’. Or why not volunteer on their trustee board?

To find out more check out their website www.swindon.cityofsanctuary.org or email info@swindon.cityofsanctuary.org

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