Swansea CoS 10 Year graphic 2020Swansea became the UK’s second City of Sanctuary in May 2010. It is part of a national movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for refugees fleeing war and persecution.

The City of Sanctuary vision is that “wherever people seeking sanctuary go they will find people who welcome, involve and assist them, understand why they are here, and recognise and celebrate the contribution they make”.

The focus is to make the whole city welcoming, with long-term residents and newcomers getting together to make a better city for us all. It's not just about 'helping' those seeking sanctuary, or what your own small group could do.

Over the years many asylum seekers have volunteered with local charities, for example in the Oxfam Bookshop (which became the UK's first “Shop of Sanctuary”); for the Red Cross, in church night shelters for the homeless, and many others.

Lots of local people volunteer with charities that support asylum seekers such as Swansea Asylum Seekers Support, African Community Centre, Ethnic Youth Support Team and Unity in Diversity. All of these groups are supporting members of City of Sanctuary.

The Swansea City of Sanctuary Team (Swansea CoS) have also got together with SCVS which runs the “A Better Welcome to Swansea” project, in which both local people and refugees volunteer to welcome newcomers and make sure they feel at home in Swansea.

Swansea CoS are planning a year-long series of events to mark the tenth anniversary, and invite you all to join in.

They want to celebrate everything being done to make our City a place of welcome as well as the contribution people escaping violence or persecution in other countries have made to Swansea.

Lord Mayor, Cllr Mark Childs, with Swansea City of Sanctuary flower display July 2020As a great start, Swansea Council has planted a flower display (click here to view), unveiled at a brief ceremony (click here for more on the ceremony) on 9th July 2020 by the Lord Mayor, Cllr Mark Childs.

Unfortunately, it looks as though many of the events will have to be online, although we hope to hold some public celebrations face-to-face later in the year.

One of the main ways Swansea CoS work towards their vision is by getting local organisations and individuals to pledge support and then find ways of turning that paper support into practical action.

Click for more info on pledging your support

As part of achieving national recognition back in 2010, over 100 local organisations, including faith communities, schools, small businesses, the Council, South Wales Police and South Wales Evening Post, as well as SCVS and some of its member organisations signed up to the pledge.

Now, for the tenth anniversary, Swansea CoS want to increase the number of pledged organisations to 200, so invite all organisations, local groups and individuals to join us and help make Swansea proud to be a place of safety.

How can your group show its support of Swansea City of Sanctuary?

Please consider doing one or all of the following:

  • Haven’t pledged yet? Click here to sign up now!
  • Please tell your members, volunteers, staff, about City of Sanctuary – Contact Swansea CoS for a “We welcome refugees” sticker to display, or consider asking them to arrange a refugee speaker.
  • What you could do to support or involve people seeking sanctuary? Like any other community, they have a full variety of needs and interests, so some of them are likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Contact Swansea CoS to talk over your ideas.
  • Put on a special event or activity either of your own or in partnership with Swansea CoS as part of our anniversary year's celebrations!
  • Let Swansea CoS know what you may have already done towards their vision, or if you have refugee members or volunteers who contribute to our city – they would like to be able to showcase as much as possible of what is going on that makes our city welcoming and inclusive.

Finally, follow Swansea City of Sanctuary on Facebook (@swanseacos) or Twitter (@swanseacos), and look out for the anniversary celebrations, both online and hopefully face-to-face events later in the year.

For more information click here to visit the Swansea City of Sanctuary website

Or email: [email protected]