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Link to Facebook page Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary also on Facebook.

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To view this website in Arabic or other languages, click here >> GOOGLE TRANSLATE.

RECENT NEWS/ANNOUNCEMENTS:

We are pleased at the level of activity we have been able to maintain during the CoronaVirus restrictions, and that we have been able to continue giving assistance to individual asylum seekers and refugees as needed.  Now planning activities for the Autumn!

Christmas Gift Appeal
We are family to over 300 sanctuary seekers who are far from home.  In normal times, we host a Christmas party in December for around 300 local asylum seekers and refugees, but we cannot hold this due to COVID-19.  You may have contributed in previous years to our pile of Christmas shoeboxes filled with gifts for Santa to distribute, but this is not possible with the current restrictions.  We plan instead to give each family a gift voucher and a Greetings Card, and for this we need to raise £3000.  Please help us bring Christmas cheer to each family and visit our JustGiving™ page at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/wcofs20 .  Click HERE for our appeal leaflet – please distribute widely!  Thank You.
[The design for the Greetings Card will be chosen from designs by the children who enter our Christmas Card Competition at half term.  There will also be packs available to purchase.  AND… there will be an online Magic Show on a private YouTube channel available to families, available for one day only, on 12 December (the date when we would have had our annual Christmas Party)].

 

Link to October National Newsletter

Click the Picture for the October National Newsletter

 

Photo of Gill Kelly and Hamia Boutarik with Cookbooks

“A love of cooking among a city’s migrant community has helped to produce a unique cookbook.”
Click the picture for the full article in the Wolverhampton Express & Star.

Main photo of Allotments article in W'ton Express & Star

“Sanctuary seekers living the good life at Wolverhampton allotments”
Click the picture for the full article in the Wolverhampton Express & Star.

Link to Article in Wolverhampton Express & Star

Desiree Lieuwo with some of the masks she has made.
Click the picture for the full article in the Wolverhampton Express & Star.

 


Photo of Taofik Sekoni at Bishops Castle

A YouTube video of the funeral service, the commendation and eulogies, and the pictures taken at the burial, is available to view by clicking on this photo.
Taofik Sekoni.  20th April 1990 – 1st July 2020.
A gentle soul, a loving Father, Brother and Son.

Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary is very sad to report the death at The Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester on 1st July 2020 of our friend Taofik from Togo when aged 30.

We share our sincere condolences with Taofik’s family in different countries and with his many friends.

The funeral was held at 11a.m. on Friday August 7th at St Michael’s RC Church, Coalway Road, Wolverhampton.

Due to the restrictions relating to Covid19, the number of people allowed in the church had to be restricted to 30, and written invitations were allocated to family and a few close friends. Clearly we regret that many friends were not able to come into the church.

The Final Commendation was held outside the church, where we were joined by all who had not been able to be inside.  People lined the route along Coalway Road as the hearse left for the burial at the cemetary, accompanied by the family and priest.

Many of his friends then walked to a park close to the church for an informal outdoor gathering, to which people had been asked to bring their own picnic lunches as sharing food and drink is still restricted.

We thank Fr.Mark for his support and advice as well as leading our commemoration of Taofik’s life.
Thank you so much to Sue Conlan (who initiated the JustGiving Fund) and all those who have not only helped Taofik’s friends meet the target to lay him to rest in peace, but have also ensured that his family will receive some money.  This is not the end of Taofik’s story.

Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary


 

CookBook Cover PhotoRefugee Week Cookery Book of World Recipes to be reprinted!
Our volunteer Gill Kelly collected some of the recipes which had been greeted with great acclaim at our ‘Near Neighbours’ Drop-In Food Club. These were published in a Cookery Book (sample page available HERE) with the first print run delivered as gifts to our regular Drop-In guests, as some small compensation for cancelled holiday trips and days out (Thanks to our donors who raised the money for this).  Now we are printing more as a fundraising endeavour, with the possibility of a special Christmas Edition.  This is a collaboration with Hope Projects and the Wolverhampton Refugee and Migrant Centre – See their ‘CookBook Page’ at https://rmcentre.org.uk/refugee-week-cook/ .  For the rarer ingredients, look for the Wolverhampton food shops specialising in particular countries, including those in Worcester Street, Salop Street, Newhampton Road, and Staveley Road, and also the many small Asian shops.  Some large supermarkets (including Sainsburys) have a ‘World Foods’ section.

 

?How to Occupy/Amuse/Educate yourself and your children while stuck at home during the CoronaVirus emergency?  You might like to try some free online English Lessons: https://www.esolcourses.com/uk-english/beginners-course/free-english-lessons.html , then try the more advanced lessons!

Wednesday October 21st, 2020  During the CoronaVirus Emergency, we are holding weekly online “Zoom” meetings.  Please send us an email if you would like to receive an invitation from the host. Participation is possible on Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, SmartPhone, or even a landline telephone (audio only).  Our English teachers are experimenting with online English language lessons using Zoom.  Those who prefer to chat in French can ask to enter the ‘online French room’.  If there is sufficient demand, there will be Arabic, Farsi and Amharic rooms.

Doctors of the World offer you Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice in 60 languages: Afrikaans, Albanian*, Amharic*, Arabic*, Armenian*, Bengali*, Bulgarian, Burmese*, Czech, Dari*, Dutch, English, Estonian, Farsi*, Filipino*, Finnish*, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hausa, Hindi, Hungarian, Igbo*, Indonesian, Italian, Kiswahili, Korean, Krio*, Kurdish Sorani*, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Nepali*, Oromo*, Pahari*, Pashto*, Pidgin, Polish*, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Romany*, Russian*, Simplified Chinese*, Sindhi*, Slovak, Somali, Spanish, Tamil*, Tetum*, Tigrinya*, Traditional Chinese*, Turkish, Twi*, Urdu*, Vietnamese, Wolof*, Yiddish, and Yoruba. *These languages will be updated very soon.
You can find the advice here – https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/# .
The guidance is based on the government’s advice and health information, and will be updated as necessary.

For advice on how Coronavirus Precautions are affecting the Asylum and Immigration System, click here – https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/latest/news/changes-to-home-office-asylum-resettlement-policy-and-practice-in-response-to-covid-19/ .  A simple summary (which may not be up to date) can be found at – https://righttoremain.org.uk/changes-to-the-asylum-process-due-to-covid-19/ .

 

St Mary & St John Church Hall on Google Streetview

St Mary & St John Church Hall on Google Streetview

VIRUS PRECAUTIONS – We regret that due to closure of the kitchen and a shortage of volunteers, we have to suspend our Weekly Drop-In at St.Mary & St.John’s Church Hall, Snow Hill, Wolverhampton, WV2 4AD. (Just inside the Ring Road opposite the end of Birmingham Road).  Click HERE for map and see right >>>> for Google Streetview photo.  For advice or emergencies, please see our Contact Page.

 

 

Link to National COVID-19 Update

Click the Picture for the National City of Sanctuary COVID-19 Update

 

We have a guidance leaflet to help people wishing to donate Goods for use by Asylum Seekers and Refugees – please click HERE.

Our Drop-In Centre volunteers need helpers!  Well, they will when we reopen after the CoronaVirus emergency.  Could you help with simple but essential jobs like assisting at the Welcome Desk or in the Coffee Bar kitchen? (as and when you’re available?).  For further information, please contact [email protected] . Volunteers will need to comply with our Safeguarding procedures and Code of Conduct.

A group of our female volunteers are succeeding with their Pants & Pads campaign – To collect donations of those extra essentials for female asylum seekers which asylum support payments of as little as £36 per week don’t allow for.  Items can be handed in at our Weekly Drop-In (see below) or contact [email protected] .  Click HERE for pdf leaflet, or HERE for jpg leaflet.

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Local Leaflet Title Picture.

is a NEW LOCAL LEAFLET, including “Henri’s Story”.
Click HERE to view as PDF.

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WHO WE ARE & WHAT WE DO:

Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary seeks to help and support asylum seekers and refugees in and around Wolverhampton, and encouraged Wolverhampton City Council to make a public commitment to Wolverhampton becoming a place of welcome and safety by adopting the title of ‘City of Sanctuary’.
To encourage and support local communities, businesses, and statutory, voluntary, community and faith organisations in welcoming and assisting asylum-seekers and refugees.
To publicise and celebrate the contribution of asylum-seekers and refugees to their local communities and to UK society and culture, and to challenge hostility and discrimination against them.
Membership of W’ton CofS includes current and former asylum seekers, agencies working with asylum seekers and refugees, representatives of local community and faith organisations, and individuals supporting our aims.  We are a registered charity, No.1176101.

CURRENT WOLVERHAMPTON PROJECTS include:

St Mary & St John Church Hall on Google Streetview

St Mary & St John Church Hall on Google Streetview

The Drop-In Centre, now at St.Mary & St.John’s Church Hall, Snow Hill, weekly for two hours a week, is well-established, with a good attendance.  We welcome volunteers who can help our guests to practice and improve their English.  Among other things, we aim to provide a safe, welcoming place where asylum seekers and refugees can relax by socialising, playing games and informally mixing with people from their own and other cultures.  We can also provide information about where to obtain English lessons, or warm clothing (including children’s) or even furniture (for those with none).

 

The Working Group are making progress with the “Welcome Booklet” for refugees and asylum seekers, which will include details of local English language classes, and activities for those not allowed to work, amongst much else.  It should be ready for printing soon.  If you would like your group, organisation or church to be added to the Welcome Booklet, please Right-Click Here and “save target as / link as” to download a form to fill in and email to the Working Group (requires Microsoft Word).

DONATIONS – We continue to raise money for our Exceptional Needs Fund for destitute Asylum Seekers.  To donate to this or the Drop-In or to our other costs, Click Here .

VOLUNTEERS – We need more members who can take on other proposed projects, such as involving local businesses or schools, or organising a day out into the countryside for families and individuals.  Click Here to read more about our need for volunteers.
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If you or your organisation would like to sign our Resolution of Support, please Right-Click Here and “save target as / link as” to download a form to print.


OLDER NEWS:

Link to September National Newsletter

Click the Picture for the September National Newsletter

Why do refugees trust their lives to criminal gangs?
One former migrant opens up about his dangerous journey to the UK –
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07rx0fb/player

“Lessons Not Learned: How asylum decision-making in the UK has repeatedly failed”

Click HERE to read this disturbing report, on the National City of Sanctuary website.
Unfortunately, it’s not getting any better, as this recent article in the Guardian describes.

 

We are happy to publicise the new

Wolverhampton Ethiopian and Eritrean Community Centre, with Flags.

It will be open every Saturday between 12 noon and 6 pm, at ‘The Church at Broad Street’, Westbury Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1JD. Click HERE for a poster/leaflet with further details.

 

We welcome St. Andrew’s Church of England Primary School to our growing number of Wolverhampton Schools of Sanctuary. Several members of W’ton CofS were delighted to take part in presenting the award and addressing the children, explaining how important it would be for the young children who currently attend our refugees’ drop-in centre to be able to go to schools where they could be sure of a warm welcome. We were particularly impressed to be introduced to some of the children who have been appointed as special interpreters for new arrivals, because they speak two or more languages themselves, and can make sure that nobody is left out. Click HERE for the school’s Press Release, or HERE for their school website.

Congratulations also to Windsor Nursery School, which you can read about HERE .

 

Poster for "Distant Memories" Parents' Performance

This was an invitation-only event for the school and friends,
but you can click on the picture to read how impressive it was!

 

Stansted 15 BannerFor International Migrants Day, about 30 people gathered in Queen’s Square, Wolverhampton at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday 18th December, to stand in solidarity with the Stansted 15.  In an effort to prevent the involuntary deportation of 60 people from Stansted airport in March 2017, the Stansted 15 had blockaded a Home Office charter flight as it was leaving.  After a lengthy trial, the group were found guilty of the terrorism-related offence of “endangering an airport”.  The Stansted 15 faced a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for preventing the plane from taking off.  For the latest news, search for  ” Stansted 15 “.  Click HERE to read the response of a local poet.

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“Asylum seekers in ‘damp, dirty, vermin-infested’ housing” – BBC News, November 20th, 2018.  See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46282158# for this BBC news item about the report of the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.  “Less than a quarter of state-run accommodation for asylum seekers in the UK is compliant with standards, a much-delayed report has found”.  43% were “not fit for purpose” or needed “urgent” repairsWolverhampton City of Sanctuary assisted with the gathering of evidence for this report, and offer this summary – CLICK HERE .  The full report (76 pages) is available HERE .

See our Facebook page (link above) for photos of the recent West Midlands regional City of Sanctuary Gathering, hosted by Wolverhampton CofS.  Click HERE for a fuller report, on the national CofS website, including links to some of the presentations.

Our thanks to Wolverhampton Quaker Meeting for arranging and funding a seaside holiday for parents and children attending our Wednesday Drop-In.  Photo Albums of the Porthmadog hostel, Black Rock Sands beach, the Welsh Highland Railway, and Caernarfon Castle can be found in mid-August posts at https://en-gb.facebook.com/wolverhamptonquakers/ .

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– for another wonderful day out on July 14th 2018


FOR YOUR ATTENTION!

Like to make a donation?……… Cheques should be made payable to Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary and sent to Erik Pearse (Treasurer), Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary, the WVSC Building, 16 Temple Street, Wolverhampton, WV2 4AN.  Online donations can be made via the Charities Aid Foundation website (just type in “Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary”).  At a late stage in the ‘Give by Debit/Credit Card’ process, it asks “Do you want to Gift Aid this donation”.  The CAF admin fee deducted is 5%, which should be more than covered by reclaimed Gift Aid where eligible.  If you are giving from your own CAF account, then that will already include reclaimed Gift Aid.  Messages specifically about donations should be sent to: CofS Treasurer .

Additional English Tutor(s) needed! We have tutors for English and for Numeracy/Maths, giving lessons from 10 am to 12 noon before our Drop-In each Wednesday at St.Mary & St.John’s Church Hall, Snow Hill, Wolverhampton, WV2 4AD.  The aims are to give learners a knowledge of basic English grammar, spelling and punctuation, and also to give learners the confidence to speak, write and read English.  And Maths as well!  Success means that we now need additional English tutors in order to continue providing the individual tuition needed by our diverse group of learners.  Just come along, or contact [email protected] .  Volunteers will need to comply with our Safeguarding procedures and Code of Conduct.

The Refugee and Migrant Centre have a VACANCY for a Volunteer (two days per week) to assist in preparing clients to take the “Life in the UK” Citizenship Test.  Details available HERE .  More details from Sarah, 01902-313794,  [email protected] .

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Useful BBC summary of facts about Unaccompanied Childrenhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-36714617

“A national shortage of foster carers means councils are struggling to care for the children”,
says the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.
Click Here
for information about fostering a child in Wolverhampton.
Click Here for information about the YMCA ‘Host Family’ scheme.


Link to PDF documentGetting English Language Lessons makes a big difference to asylum seekers and refugees, but isn’t easy when you have no money to spare. Your website manager (who accepts responsibility for any inaccuracies) has attempted to list the conditions for some people to get free College Courses, and the places where free or low cost English Lessons may be available to others.  CLICK HERE to see version 11.

Let Refugees Learn photo link Refugees and asylum seekers who have fled to the UK want to rebuild their lives in peace. But, although they have reached safety, many of them can’t begin their new lives – working, studying, contributing to their community – because they can’t speak the language.
There are a few simple changes that the government could make that would give refugees and asylum seekers the access to English language teaching they want and need.  CLICK HERE for details.


Wildside Activity Centre Logo.

Low-cost refugee-friendly Parent & Toddler activity mornings for families in Whitmore Reans and Farndale (north-west Wolverhampton) – “Little Explorers”, every Monday.  http://www.wildsideac.co.uk/march-2016?id=281  Phone: 01902-572240.  Email: [email protected]

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tabernaclebaptist_321px

Google Streetview

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Refugee-friendly parent & child “Stay & Play”, every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church, at the junction of Dunstall Road and Staveley Road, in the Whitmore Reans area.  Postcode: WV6 0NJ.  Bus Route 5.  Up to about age 3.

 

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Local Government Association LogoThe Local Government Association – Refugees and unaccompanied children: ” THIS PAGE  is a one-stop resource; We will continue to update these resources as more information comes through – keep checking this page to stay up to date”.

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Photo of Book CoverPhoto of Book CoverWolverhampton Libraries have many true stories of life as a refugee, as well as Studies of the issues.  Click HERE to see them in the online catalogue.

Picture of Book Cover

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For Children’s Fiction and Adult Fiction featuring life as a refugee, click HERE.

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More Books on our Resources webpage.

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Registered Charity No. 1176101