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Swansea City of Sanctuary is part of a national movement which builds a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for individuals seeking sanctuary from war and persecution.

Our vision is to be one of a network of places which are welcoming to all, which are proud to offer sanctuary and support to those fleeing violence or persecution, and which celebrate the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees to their cities and communities. Wherever people seeking sanctuary go in our city they should find people who welcome them, involve and assist them, understand why they are here, and recognise and celebrate the contribution they make.

We work with over 100 organisations, including faith groups, local businesses, schools and others, to make this vision a reality. We also have a great volunteer base, without whom we couldn’t function.

Our voluntary Management Committee is currently coordinating and supporting a variety of activities:

  • Finding ways for people seeking sanctuary to meet and take part in activities alongside other locals. A new idea here is to get people in parts of Swansea with few refugees to put on welcome events. We also have small funds for helping asylum seekers with very little cash take part in community activities.
  • Sanctuary in Politics: An innovative learning course run by our CoS Wales lead, for local people with lived experience of seeking sanctuary. It is a series of modules about how the political system works, campaigning and working with the media effectively. In 2023, the course was open to 20 participants in Wales, the majority of which were from Swansea! We are now working on ways to support these sanctuary ambassadors once they graduate.
  • Schools of Sanctuary: We are particularly proud of our ever-growing Schools of Sanctuary network in Swansea, we now have over 10 schools with accreditation!
  • Speak up for Sanctuary: City of Sanctuary UK are providing a new programme designed to support people who may have little or no previous campaigning experience to recognise their power in making change, to speak up for refugee rights and to supercharge efforts to build welcoming and compassionate communities. We are currently working on being able to provide the training ourselves here in Swansea. You can view a digital version of the SUFS handbook.
  • Swansea Refugee and Asylum Seeker Coordination (R&AS): In the midst of the pandemic, we set up a weekly coordination group in order to form a collaborative response to issues faced by local refugees and asylum seekers during lockdown. We have continued to Chair these meetings, which now meet every other month, extending invitations to network members to participate actively, share resources, and stay updated with the latest developments within our strong support network. If you’re interested in joining, please contact us.
  • The ‘A Better Welcome to Swansea’ Project helps to welcome and support people seeking asylum and refuge in Swansea to reduce isolation, encourage active participation, promote well being and enhance integration. It is managed in partnership with us by Swansea Council for Voluntary Service (SCVS). This project builds on the mentoring scheme from the Wales Cities of Sanctuary (WCoS) partnership project.
  • Other Sanctuary Awards: There are always new organisations and institutions interested in working towards a sanctuary award, and we are here to help support that. We are regularly involved in the appraisal system and like to have close contact and work collaboratively with groups hoping to achieve status.
  • Home Away from Home Exhibition: Our Exhibition includes information about Swansea as a City of Sanctuary, stories from local refugees who have come to live in Swansea, as well as information and definitions about the asylum seeking process. We are currently seeking funding to update the existing Exhibition and support it’s touring of it around different venues to spread information.

For three years to June 2018, we worked mainly through the Lottery-funded, Wales Cities of Sanctuary project, managed by Displaced People in Action (DPIA).

We generally prefer not to provide services or run projects ourselves, but rather choose to work through partnerships or by encouraging supporting organisations to take new initiatives. City of Sanctuary is much bigger than our projects or our committee: We are what our supporters do!

Important Documents