With cross-party support at October's Full Council meeting, City of York Council is set to begin work to earn the status of Council of Sanctuary. This will commit the Council to join the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network, promoting the welcome and inclusion of asylum seekers and supporting city wide and national networks.
City of Sanctuary UK is a movement working across the country to ensure the UK is a welcoming place of safety for all and is proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.
Since 2016 York has been recognised as a City of Sanctuary. The Council alongside York City of Sanctuary team and other established charities is working with refugee families who need accommodation and support, seeking to promote an environment of understanding and compassion within the city.
The motion was proposed by York Liberal Democrat Councillor Darryl Smalley, who outlined the importance of embedding sanctuary principles in Council’s work with refugees and asylum seekers. The Full Council meeting was held during the Together With Refugees Week of Action, which is calling for a better approach to supporting people seeking sanctuary that is effective, fair and humane.
Councillor Darryl Smalley, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities, commented:
“York has a proud record of providing sanctuary to those in need. Joining the Local Authority Network and working to become a Council of Sanctuary we give us the opportunity to learn, embed best practice and share our experience with other authorities.
“I welcome the support from councillors across the political spectrum. We must work together to support and welcome those seeking sanctuary and fleeing persecution.
“This motion shows that as a city and Council we celebrate our diversity and welcome everybody, regardless of their background. York recognises the contribution of refugees and those seeking sanctuary to the city, and we are committed to welcoming them and actively seek ways in which we can support them.”
Maggie Filipova-Rivers, Local Authority Network Lead, added:
‘We are thrilled that York will formally be joining the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network and to see the cross-party commitment that exists within the council to embed solidarity-based approaches to the council’s work with, and for people of sanctuary seeking background. York has so much to contribute in terms of good practice so on behalf of the network we would like to say ‘welcome’.’’