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Council pledges support for City of Sanctuary

At its meeting on Thursday 4th December Swansea City Council voted unanimously to pass a motion pledging support for plans to make Swansea a ‘City of Sanctuary’.

Earlier this year local people decided to set up a City of Sanctuary group in Swansea and asked the City Council to sign-up to a “model resolution” to start the process of getting recognition for Swansea.

Swansea City of Sanctuary spokesperson Keith Ross commented, “Many people are now familiar with the idea of a ‘Fairtrade City’, in which a wide range of community groups and organisations make a commitment to using and selling fairtrade goods.
In a similar way a ‘City of Sanctuary’ is a place where a broad range of local organisations, community groups and faith communities, as well as local government, are publicly committed to welcoming and including people seeking sanctuary.

“We have set up a Working Group with the aim of meeting the national criteria for recognition as a ‘City of Sanctuary’ by next year. We want to build on the goodwill existing in Swansea to spread a culture of hospitality through the whole city and make a real difference to all those in need of safety.

“We invite all organizations, local groups and individuals to join us and help make Swansea proud to be a place of safety. City of Sanctuary supporters can include community centres, charities, social clubs, schools, local services and businesses, as well as refugee organizations and those who already work with asylum seekers and refugees. Supporting organisations promise to welcome and include people seeking sanctuary in their activities. “

The motion considered by the City Council on Thursday read:

We support the initiative to make Swansea into a recognised ‘City of

Sanctuary’, welcoming those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries. We recognise the contribution of refugees and people seeking sanctuary to the City of Swansea. We are committed to taking practical steps to welcome and include them in our activities and are actively seeking ways of supporting them wherever we can. We are willing for our organisation’s name to be added to a list of supporters of City of Sanctuary. We are also willing to be contacted by the Swansea City of Sanctuary group with further ideas for how we can turn this pledge into practical action.

Mr Ross continued, “Of course, there are a number of groups, including the City Council, who are already working to make refugees welcome in Swansea. By asking the Council and others to sign-up to a formal resolution we aim to recognise the work that is already going on and to encourage new partners to join us.”