St Albans looks to become a City of Sanctuary
Councillors have approved plans for St Albans District to seek City of Sanctuary status so it is recognised as a safe haven for people forced to flee their homes.
The City of Sanctuary Network is a UK-wide movement that acknowledges places that “go above and beyond to welcome people” who are seeking refuge.
St Albans City and District Council has now decided to work towards joining the Network as an awarded member.
It will initially become a non-awarded member by signing up to the network’s vision and values.
The Council will then go through an appraisal process where its commitment to the Network’s cause is assessed.
This will include demonstrating that the Council has embedded the concept of welcome and inclusion at all levels of the organisation.
This application to join the sanctuary movement follows the work the Council has undertaken with partners to resettle more than 50 Syrian refugees.
More recently, Council staff have inspected dozens of local homes for Ukrainians fleeing the war to may sure they are appropriate.
The Council’s Housing and Inclusion Committee agreed to seek City of Sanctuary status at its meeting on Tuesday 12 July.
The decision follows evidence of strong community support for the initiative with a City of Sanctuary Group for St Albans having already been set up.
Councillor Sarwar Shamsher, the Committee’s Vice-Chair and Lead Councillor for Equality and Inclusion, said after the meeting:
I am delighted that we can now work towards becoming a City of Sanctuary, a move that I am sure will have the support of our residents.
We have a proud record in St Albans of welcoming people who are fleeing war and persecution. That has been shown by the work we undertook to resettle many Syrian refugees and the way our community has responded to the Ukrainian crisis with more than 100 of our residents applying to the Homes for Ukrainians scheme.
Becoming an awarded member will bestow recognition on St Albans for those achievements.
It will also demonstrate our commitment to continue to provide support, dignity and welcome to refugees and people seeking sanctuary.
More information about the City of Sanctuary Network is available here: https://cityofsanctuary.org/.
The City of Sanctuary for St Albans group can be contacted here: https://stalbans.cityofsanctuary.org/.
Councillor contact: Councillor Sarwar Shamsher, Vice-Chair of the Housing and Inclusion Committee, email@example.com; 07883 024251.
Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, 01727 819533, firstname.lastname@example.org.