In 2015, Birmingham declared itself a City of Sanctuary: this was not the end of our work, but the beginning.
As a city of sanctuary, Birmingham has committed to become a place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution. We can all play our part to make this happen: as individuals and organisations.
Take a look below to see how Birmingham is already working to offer welcome, and how you can get involved.
Our city is home to a diverse population of over 1 million people. We can each play our part in making our city a place of sanctuary and welcome:
There are many organisations offering direct support to refugees and asylum seekers, but any organisation that interacts with the public can help create a culture of welcome. Organisations pledge that “we recognise the contribution of asylum-seekers and refugees to the City of Birmingham, and are committed to welcoming and including asylum-seekers and refugees in our activities.”
A School of Sanctuary is a school that is committed to being a safe and welcoming place for all, especially those seeking sanctuary. This could be people whose lives were in danger in their own country, who have troubles at home or are just looking for a space of safety.
Several schools have already signed up in Birmingham – here you can read our latest Schools of Sanctuary newsletters:
Public libraries welcome people seeking sanctuary and other new arrivals into their community and seek to foster a culture of welcome and inclusivity.
The Libraries of Sanctuary resource pack has been produced to support public libraries in this process. It includes detailed information on how a library can meet the requirements to learn about offering sanctuary, embed this learning in their institution, and to share their learning and opportunities with the wider community.
Stirchley Community Library is one of the local libraries mentioned in the pack with its links to Kensington Hostel. The library works with Kings Heath Action for Refugees with their welcome walks, and has given temporary library membership to residents of the Hostel, as well as acting as a venue for Hope not Hate training.
In 2015 Birmingham was officially declared a City of Sanctuary, and in January 2019 the city council (BCC) renewed this commitment.
There is a dedicated City of Sanctuary page on the BCC website, with information on:
- Current front-line work
- Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme
- EU Settlement Scheme – EU Citizens Living In the UK
- Policy and partnerships
- Useful contacts and organisations
The council states that:
“Our new commitment also extends beyond offering a welcoming place of safety to creating a city which all people from refugee and migrant communities can successfully resettle and integrate in the UK.
Our aims are to prevent crisis and destitution amongst newly arriving refugees and migrants, but also to recognise the skills and assets they can bring with them and the contributions they can make to the city’s economy and communities.”