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National City of Sanctuary 

City of Sanctuary is a movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome for all – but especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution.

The movement began in 2005 in Sheffield, which became the first City of Sanctuary in 2007. Today, the network constitutes over 115 local groups, including boroughs, towns and cities across the UK and Ireland. All are committed to building a culture of welcome across society.

Wherever refugees go, we want them to feel safe and find people who will welcome them.

You can find out more by visiting the national City of Sanctuary website:


Swindon City of Sanctuary – Our History

Steering group 2016

We started out as a steering group – a small group of individuals with a range of backgrounds who all lived and worked in Swindon. In March 2018 we registered as a charity, with an elected Board of Trustees, several volunteers, and two paid employees.

The steering group came together in May 2016 after an initial meeting brought together by Swindon Quakers and led by Tom Godwin, who was working for Hope not Hate and was, at the time, a trustee of Harbours. The open meeting was attended by various charities, councillors, community groups and individuals who all wanted to help make refugees and asylum seekers feel welcome and supported in the wider community.

We all believe there is a great sense of inclusion and community in Swindon, despite its size (yes, we might be a town, but we are as diverse as and are the size of a city – hence City rather than Town of Sanctuary). We want to build on this and help show a more positive side to Swindon than is usually portrayed in the media, too.

Read our annual reports here.

We hope as support grows it will encourage others to see past labels, to understand and empathise with those who have had to flee their homes because their lives were in danger, and to actively help them feel included in our community.