On the 7th of September, we welcomed 40 delegates from 14 City of Sanctuary groups across the South West of England and Wales, to learn, be encouraged and inspire each other to make our cities more welcoming environments for those seeking refuge.

We hosted the conference at Los Gatos restaurant which also provided ‘Sanctuary Tapas’ for lunch. Los Gatos is currently serving a number of refugee’s recipies as taught to their chefs, with all proceeds going to Swindon City of Sanctuary. So far this project has raised over £1,700.

 

The delegates outside Los Gatos

We shared ideas, projects and campaigns ranging from larger, established groups such as Southampton and Bristol to brand new groups looking to get off of the ground, such as Bath and Abergavenny. We heard from refugee delegates how important it is that they can use the skills they bring with them, and not live in fear of detention, destitution or deportation. 

 

The main message of the day was that we can share and build on our own and each other’s strengths – that everyone does things a bit differently according to their own area, that each way is valid and this creativity and energy is a strength of the movement itself. If we are able to organise together we can capture this unique moment in history to secure lasting change for sanctuary seekers.

 

You can read The Swindon Advertiser’s coverage of the event here.