"Swindon City of Sanctuary will not exist to only support people seeking sanctuary, but to work with them to empower them and to influence the issues that matter to them."
During lockdown in 2020 we decided to reflect and evaluate where we are as a charity, how the needs might have changed for sanctuary seekers in Swindon, which would help direct our work from 2021 onwards.
To do this we conducted a consultation in Dec 2020 through 1:1 video calls with people who have been seeking sanctuary in Swindon.
Through collating this evidence and reflecting on our past work as a charity our new strategy for 2021 shifts from a 'service delivery' organisation to more of an enabling organisation with 3 key areas of work (led by, and working alongside Experts by Experience (EBE) wherever possible and appropriate).
- Education (1) working with schools around Swindon to (over and above that provided by the national curriculum) educate both students and teaching staff on the reality of seeking sanctuary and the challenges that sanctuary seekers face on a daily basis when they come to Swindon and (2) supporting families in the asylum system including by providing creative and educational resources to them in partnership with Swindon Libraries.
- Streams of Sanctuary – encouraging the town’s communities to come together to embed the concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion within their professions, sectors, and organisations through gaining a sanctuary award.
- Campaigning – supporting national campaigns and establishing local campaigns which raise awareness of the challenges of seeking sanctuary and improve the lives of those who come into our community.
This does mean some of our previous projects will no longer be running such as our Hosting Scheme and others will continue such as We're Open which is about social inclusion and open to the whole of the Swindon community.
For more info you can watch this short video we created for a recent online event organised by Voluntary Action Swindon which clearly explains where we have been and our future direction.