An extremely successful workshop was held on Saturday 21 June as part of the Refugee Week events at the National Waterfront Museum, to launch the idea of Swansea becoming a ‘City of Sanctuary’. 20 people attended and we had apologies and/or messages of support from a similar number. We had good press coverage:1 a column in the local South Wales Evening Post (which also covered Refugee Week well).
We got a write-up on the BBC website including a good interview with one of our refugee members.
Those present agreed to set up a Working Group to work towards meeting the criteria and becoming an official City of Sanctuary within one year (timetable to be confirmed). The first meeting was set for Tuesday 15 July between 5.30 and 7.30 p.m. (venue to be confirmed).
12 people volunteered to be on the Working Group, plus 4 of those who had given apologies. We also decided that at least the first Working Group meeting should be open to all who either attended the workshop or had responded to the circulated invitations – but it would not be an open public meeting. We noted that many of the suggested activities for a City of Sanctuary already take place in Swansea. However, the criteria are to some extent self-imposed. It will be up to our Working Group to set our own target for obtaining resolutions of support from a ‘significant and representative proportion of local groups and organizations’ and our own specific goals to be met which would add significantly to what is already happening in Swansea.
Most of the workshop was taken up in two subgroups brainstorming ideas for how ‘City of Sanctuary’ could make a difference in Swansea. Notes from these two groups will be posted separately.
We are off to a great start.