Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary also on Facebook.
To view this website in Arabic or other languages, click here >> GOOGLE TRANSLATE.
On Tuesday May 4th we held an Online Briefing Session about the government’s proposed “New Plan for Immigration”. After a presentation by Emma Birks of Asylum Matters, we had a Question & Answer session to clarify understanding of the key proposals, and a discussion of future cooperation to promote the welfare of asylum seekers and refugees facing possible new legislation. A Brief Summary is available HERE. Details of a follow-up session will be available from [email protected]. Advocating on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees may include challenging those parts of the “New Plan” which may appear to be unworkable, illegal under international law, or contrary to established British values [Wolverhampton has been welcoming refugees since at least 1914].
If you missed the Online Briefing Session, there are Briefing Papers available at: OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT , “NATIONAL CITY of SANCTUARY” , “ASYLUM MATTERS” , “AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL” , “FREE MOVEMENT” , “FREEDOM FROM TORTURE” , and QUAKER . Unfortunately, the government’s recent time-limited consultation on the “New Plan” could easily be interpreted as asking, not “How do you think that the asylum system could be made to work better?”, but rather, “What do you think would be the most effective ways of making it more difficult for refugees to apply for asylum?”. Hence the comments in various briefing papers that some of the questions were just unanswerable.
The Event Organiser’s Pack for Refugee Week, June 14th – 20th, is now available at http://refugeeweek.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Event-Organisers-Pack-Refugee-Week-2021.pdf . Refugee Week (“We Cannot Walk Alone”) is coming soon, and you can get involved by holding your own event or activity as part of the festival. The Organiser Pack is full of ideas, tips and resources to help you get started.
Thursday evenings: June 17th and 24th, and July 1st, 2021. Restore (Birmingham) set of three training sessions about refugee awareness and befriending. “Free training online for anyone interested in discovering more about refugee issues”. 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., online via Zoom. Click HERE to book your place. Enquiries to: Catherine, Restore’s Befriending Coordinator on [email protected] , or [email protected] . Training is offered free of charge, but donations towards costs are welcome. Click HERE for poster with further information.
COVID Vaccination Doctors (GPs) are making sure that everyone who needs a COVID vaccination gets one. All asylum seekers and refugees have the right to register with a GP. Here’s the card being used in the current publicity campaign [Note the 0300 311 2233 (standard rate) phone number in case of refusal]:
Fed up with being stuck indoors during the COVID Lockdown? You might like to try one of these walks – Explore Wolverhampton’s past with 2 different walking trails that guide you around city centre landmarks and the 21 Lock canal network: https://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/visiting/walking-trails
We are delighted to have been awarded a joint grant from the National Lottery Community Fund and the Barrow Cadbury Trust, to help us to ensure that the children of asylum seekers are not disadvantaged in their education. Click HERE for more information.
We have also been awarded a grant from NACCOM, the UK-wide “No Accommodation Network”, which has been used to purchase another 14 laptops. A “thank-you” video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/DIu6rT9Vyo4 .
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
?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!
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). Those who prefer to chat in French can ask to enter the ‘online French room’.
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/ .
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.
We have a guidance leaflet to help people wishing to donate Goods for use by Asylum Seekers and Refugees – please click HERE. Please Contact Us first to check whether we can arrange COVID-safe collection/delivery.
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.
is a NEW LOCAL LEAFLET, including “Henri’s Story”.
Click HERE to view as PDF.
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:
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).
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.
Christmas Gift Appeal – Success!
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 could not 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 has not been possible with the current restrictions. Instead, we have given each family a gift voucher and a Greetings Card, and arranged an online performance by a children’s magician, and for this we raised over £3000. Thank you to those who visited our JustGiving™ page, or donated by cheque or bank transfer.
[The design for the Greetings Card was chosen from designs by the children who entered our Christmas Card Competition at half term].
Refugee 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.
Why do refugees trust their lives to criminal gangs?
One former migrant opens up about his dangerous journey to the UK –
“Lessons Not Learned: How asylum decision-making in the UK has repeatedly failed”
We are happy to publicise the new
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 .
For International Migrants Day 2018, 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. Click HERE to read the response of a local poet. Click HERE for a January 2021 update – Appeal successful!
“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” repairs. Wolverhampton 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/ .
– 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] .
Useful BBC summary of facts about Unaccompanied Children – http://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.
Getting 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.
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.
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]
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.
The 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”.
Wolverhampton 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.
For Children’s Fiction and Adult Fiction featuring life as a refugee, click HERE.
More Books on our Resources webpage.