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Agenda item

City of Sanctuary

To receive a verbal report.



The Committee received a verbal update from Tom Martin (newly appointed Director of the City of Sanctuary), regarding the City of Sanctuary.  He said that since Sheffield became the first City of Sanctuary in the UK in 2007, a lot had changed since then and the vision is for every city in the United Kingdom becoming a City of Sanctuary.  Since the premises opened on Chapel Walk last year, The Sanctuary is regarded as a safe haven by users. It provides a welcoming space for individuals to relax and socialise whilst being able to access key services and support. Although funding has been received towards costs to support key services and functions in the city, a team of volunteers are being trained to deal with the basic problems people need help with.  The services could not be delivered without the help from volunteers and at the beginning of the year, there were around 19 volunteers, but the number has now significantly risen to 28. 




Tom Martin referred to the report on Controlling Migration and expressed concern regarding the report.  He said he welcomed the fact that the Housing Services Team have again reiterated that they would never make referrals to the UKBA of migrants in the city unless they were acting criminally.  He said the City of Sanctuary was there to offer safety and support for migrants and make sure there is an understanding of what people have been through to get here.  Mr. Martin welcomed a training programme to be rolled out across the Council to ensure its officers understand the protocols around dealing with asylum seekers and refugees.




In response, Councillor Paul Wood, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, stated that a lot of funding had been spent on the settlement of the Roma community and that sometimes when problems arise it is not always under the control of the City Council and therefore nothing more can be done to assist.  Councillor Wood also stated that there needed to be closer ties with other Cities of Sanctuary throughout the country.




The Chair thanked Tom Martin for attending the meeting and providing the update.