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Richmond upon Thames to become a Borough of Sanctuary for refugees

9 December 2022

Richmond Council has confirmed its commitment to Richmond upon Thames becoming a Borough of Sanctuary for those who have been forced to flee their homes.

The City of Sanctuary movement is part of a national initiative to create a network of towns and cities throughout the UK that are proud to be places of safety and inclusion for people seeking sanctuary. At a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday evening (Thursday 8 December 2022), councillors voted to support becoming a Borough of Sanctuary.

Councillor Nancy Baldwin, Spokesperson for Communities, Equalities and the Voluntary Sector, said:

"Richmond Council has committed to being a place of sanctuary on many separate occasions – most recently to Afghan, Syrian, Hong Kong and Ukrainian refugees. This is a place where people can find a safe home, amongst strong and supportive communities who will help them thrive for as long as they call the UK home.

"We also recognise and celebrate the valued contribution that refugees make to the country and to our own communities, so going forward we pledge to work with local groups, migrants and sanctuary seekers to develop policies and actions which strengthen the Council's support for migrants and refugees. We will also lobby the Government to adopt a more humanitarian approach and introduce a compassionate asylum policy.

"I have spent a lot of time getting to know our Ukrainian guests this year and seeing the way our communities have come together to support them has been inspiring. I am looking forward to the work we will do together as a borough to achieve this status, and to celebrating and empowering people who seek sanctuary here."

Formal Borough of Sanctuary status is awarded by City of Sanctuary UK, a registered charity which advocates for refugees and supports and coordinates groups and organisations which work with refugees. Local authorities are asked to demonstrate they can meet nine specific criterions across three themes, when making an application for Borough of Sanctuary status.

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Up to: December 2022

Updated: 9 December 2022

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