Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary also on Facebook.
To view this website in Arabic or other languages, click here >> GOOGLE TRANSLATE.
Christmas Gifts and Celebrations
We are asking for your support to help us, along with our friends at ‘ChadMark, to give families,
children, and people living on their own, some modest gifts and to arrange some festive visits.
Click HERE to visit our JustGiving™ page.
The funds raised will go towards Christmas vouchers for families and
individuals and hopefully some other Christmas treats and events.
What’s COP got to do with refugees?
It might not seem that climate change is linked to the growing number of refugees. Yet as the climate has become less stable, the number of refugees world-wide has increased in recent years. Sometimes the link is direct – e.g., when floods or famine caused by climate change force people to leave their homes.
But the indirect impact can be huge too. As crops fail, so poverty increases and communities fall apart. As people become more desperate, it becomes easier for extremists or organised crime to flourish and to take control. Violence ensues, and innocent people have to flee.
It is clear that if we do not get a grip on climate change very soon, we will see many more refugees and displaced people across the world. Coastal communities from nearby west Wales all the way to far off Pacific islands will face tidal flooding; food supplies will be hit and make prices rise even further, and famines will be more common. Poverty, war and instability will increase.
It’s in all of our interests to address the issue, whether that is our governments at their COP talks or us at our local community level. Trees are one of the simplest, cheapest, and most natural ways to control the climate. And we can all play a part by caring for trees and green spaces and planting more trees. Some asylum seekers have volunteered time to look after Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve. One very productive area has seen sanctuary seekers take on new allotments, growing their own fruit and veg, and sharing ideas with neighbouring allotment holders. (See photo and article below).
CofS on YouTube National City of Sanctuary now has its own YouTube channel, on which you can see video briefings, videos of recent conference presentations, and specialist webinar discussions. Click HERE to see the video menu.
The impact of the Nationality and Borders Bill is likely to be so severe that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has taken the unusual step of strongly and publicly opposing the plans, stating in its response to the consultation on them:
“UNHCR is concerned that the plan, if implemented as it stands, will undermine the 1951 Convention and international protection system, not just in the UK, but globally.”
Please read more about the “Anti-Refugee Bill” (and what you might like to do about it) at https://bordersbill.cityofsanctuary.org/
One of our young refugees recently heard that his brother had died at sea:
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]:
AND ALSO “How to access medical care as an asylum seeker” Click HERE to read an excellent leaflet which explains in clear and straightforward English: your rights, how to register with a GP, what happens if you move, access to mental health care and many other issues. Click HERE for translations into: Albanian, Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, and Tigrinya.
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 .
?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!
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 REVISED 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.
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.
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.
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 YOUR ATTENTION!
Like to make a donation?……… Cheques should be made payable to Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary and sent to Alan & Maggie Marriott (acting 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.
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.