What are we doing locally in Winchester to support people seeking sanctuary? Here is just a few projects we have been involved in over the last year many of which continue.
We continue to work closely with the University of Winchester on a range of initiatives, including a Migration History project, Sing for Sanctuary, family days and on developing schools and colleges of sanctuary in Winchester. If you are a local primary or secondary school or college and would be interested in finding out more about becoming a school, college or university of sanctuary, then please get in touch with us.
We provide signposting, advice and guidance to people seeking sanctuary locally and to professionals looking for support for people seeking sanctuary. We have been trained by Citizens Advice Winchester District to make referrals into their Advice First Aid Partnership. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss a referral.
We support access to ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes run locally. Please get in touch if you would like to access ESOL classes locally and need some advice or guidance.
We continue to work closely with Hampshire Libraries and Hampshire Cultural Trust to support the development of Libraries of Sanctuary. At the end of last year, Hampshire Libraries received the Library of Sanctuary Award, from City of Sanctuary UK organisation, in recognition of their important work to welcome and support all sanctuary seekers in library branches. This Refugee Week 2023 libraries across Hampshire have celebrated people seeking sanctuary with a range of events across the Hampshire Libraries network.
We work closely with Winchester City Council to explore how to make Winchester a city of sanctuary and to discuss how they can be a council of sanctuary helping to embed sanctuary at the heart of local authorities. The first step Winchester City Council took was to pass a motion making a commitment towards being a place of sanctuary. They are key partners in our efforts locally and we welcome their support.
In the last year we partnered with Key Changes, a local Music Therapy charity to facilitate access to Music for Wellbeing sessions initially for adults and now for children. Sessions are now being delivered to Ukrainian children in several local schools.
In the last year we also partnered with Tower House Horses to support people seeking sanctuary to access horse assisted wellbeing support.
We continue to work closely with local statutory and non-statutory trauma care professionals to advocate for the needs of people seeking sanctuary.
We have worked closely with PlaytotheCrowd and some of their partners on several projects, including Hat Fair, carnival making projects and most recently, a drumming workshop led by our friends from Writing Our Legacy CIC. We look forward to future collaborations with PlaytotheCrowd and Writing our Legacy CIC.
We work closely with local, regional and national partners to try and ensure that refugees are treated with compassion, respect, and dignity and to show our solidarity in standing Together with Refugees. Local organisations like SWVG, Rural Refugee Network, CLEAR Southampton, Southampton Stand Up To Racism, and Portsmouth City of Sanctuary all play invaluable roles in our local and regional communities. Please support us and them.
We are a member of the Together with Refugees coalition, advocating for a more compassionate approach to refuges. See https://togetherwithrefugees.org.uk/