The city of Bradford has a proud history of welcoming and including newcomers from all corners of the world. City of Sanctuary Bradford was officially launched on 1st October 2008, with a vision to see this culture of welcome and hospitality extended to include those seeking sanctuary in our city. On 18th November 2010 Bradford became only the third city in the UK to be awarded ‘City of Sanctuary’ status

We celebrate the huge contribution that asylum seekers and refugees bring to the city and want to see this more broadly recognized. We aim to challenge some of the misinformation and negative stereotypes already in the public domain. We hope to stimulate opportunities for those seeking sanctuary to participate fully in the life of this city.

We have been very grateful for financial support from the Cooperative Local Members Committee, CNet’s Grassroots Grant, Lush soaps, Bradford Anglican Diocese, Near Neighbours and 2:28, as well as considerable in-kind support from Touchstone Methodist Centre

  • With 90 councillors in attendance, Bradford’s Lord Mayor received a certificate from Tiffy Allen, the National CoS Coordinator, in the Banqueting Hall at Bradford’s City Hall on 25th March. Tiffy, Will Sutcliffe (Bradford CoS Chair) and Harry Femi (BCoS Committee member and sanctuary seeker) gave speeches, followed by the Mayor and Cllr Imran Hussain, Deputy Leader of the Council. Bradford is a city built on successive waves of migration, with a very proud history of welcoming migrants from across the globe. The review recognized a huge range of services across the city, publicly funded, voluntary sector and church-based that together help us achieve our aim of welcoming and including those seeking sanctuary in the city. In his speech Will highlighted as particular examples Bevan House Primary Care Centre and the UNHCR Gateway Resettlement Project run by Horton Housing. Harry highlighted the support he has received to get involved in a wide range of voluntary work whilst he is waiting for his legal case to be resolved, whilst Tiffy mentioned that it was a visit to an event in Bradford in 2009 that first inspired her to get involved with CoS. Quotes from sanctuary seekers interviewed during the review process included: “I feel very safe; I have never been harassed or experienced any discrimination towards me” “I am confident [in Bradford] because I know there are services and people to guide me and signpost me towards what I need” “I feel part of the community. I do not experience hostility and my children can play outside safely” “Bradford is very friendly!”
  • For a report on this really excellent conference that took place in Sept 2013, see: http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/news/2171/seekers-and-health-care-%E2%80%...
  • About 70 people attended a Destitution Day of Action in Bradford on Saturday 29th June 2013 ,part of a national day of action highlighting the injustice of the government’s policy of enforced destitution of refused asylum seekers. They heard speeches from Nigerian asylum seeker Harry Femi , who has first hand experience of the appalling impact of destitution, local immigration lawyer Barry Clark, who outlined the injustice of a legal process which forces refused asylum seekers into destitution, and Bradford City of Sanctuary chair Will Sutcliffe who spoke of some of the practical ways that people can get involved locally to support destitute asylum seekers. Barry Clark told the T&A “The government should not be using destitution as a means to enforce its harsh immigration and asylum policies, leaving people without food, shelter or the right to work” In his speech, Will Sutcliffe made reference to the academic report published last year, ‘No Return, No Asylum. Destitution as a way of life?’ (see: http://www.destitutionconcernbradford.org/) which counted 66 people, including 10 children in Bradford, made destitute after their asylum claims were refused.
  • Over 130 people from across the world gathered at the Kala Sangam Arts Centre to celebrate the fact over 150 local groups, organisations, businesses and places of worship have signed up in support of Bradford City of Sanctuary since our launch four years ago. Local refugee women from Horton Housing’s HOSTS project provided delicious hot food. Moses Ekabusi and his band Egwundu gave a powerful drumming performance, following a drumming workshop that got even the most rhythmically-challenged involved. The Mussanzi Family choir launched the afternoon with inspirational songs, whilst Rehema Mussanzi’s (aka El Rehema: http://elrehema.bandcamp.com/) powerful rap performance gave much food for thought, dealing with amongst other topics the trauma of his D.R Congo homeland. After a great’daf’ (Kurdish drum)performance by Arad Tamisi and Ali Pabai’s powerful ‘Refugee in Refuse’ poem, rising local folk star Bella Gaffney finished off the event with several inspiring songs.
  • Bradford City of Sanctuary group wholeheartedly supports Positive Bradford. Positive Bradford’s objective is easily defined: we’re going to speak up for Bradford. We remind local people about Bradford’s achievements, update them on work in progress and inform them about the city’s exciting plans. The annual ‘Positive Bradford Day’ is held in the new City Park in Centenary Square on Sat 28th Sept. It is filled with displays, music and dancing performed by groups who promote Bradford’s cultural strength at home and overseas. It is a day to celebrate all that is great about Bradford. Sceptics are especially welcome! Bradford has been the target of unfair criticism, often through baseless surveys designed simply to create headlines. The measure of a city is not how many department stores it has but the value and contribution of its people. Those who live, work, study or invest in Bradford know it’s a distinctive city with a unique identity and a bright future. A place where community cohesion isn’t just a fashionable term but a way of daily life. Positive Bradford has been formed by a group of people fed up of seeing their city unfairly criticised. They have resolved to do something about it – but need support from local people, communities, businesses and other organisations. Set up by Jane Vincent, founder of recruitment company Candelisa People and Saleem Kader, managing director of international business Bombay Stores Group.The Positive Bradford Group includes volunteers from the arts, business, communities and education who share a mission to change perceptions of Bradford and highlight positive aspects of the city. For more information see the website: http://www.positivebradford.co.uk/
  • Asylum seekers, refugees and supporters came together to celebrate Bradford’s recent award of official ‘City of Sanctuary’ status and to pay tribute to the contributions of refugees in Bradford. It also tied in with the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Convention. Over 100 people attended the event at Kala Sangam on Wednesday 23rd March 2011. It was a very inspiring and informative evening. Indeed, after a wonderful meal prepared by Masoumeh, an Iranian lady recently awarded refugee status with her 2 sons after a 10 year battle, the Deputy Mayor opened the evening, followed by several speakers. The first focused on 60 years of refugee migration to the city, then four refugees told of their incredible achievements despite destitution and other obstacles since arriving in the UK. We finished off with music and dance from various refugee musicians and a Zimbabwean choir. City of Sanctuary is a movement to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK. A City of Sanctuary is a place of safety, peace and welcome for people whose lives are in danger in their own countries. We aim to value the skills and cultures of people seeking sanctuary, support community groups, schools and faith organisations to fully include refugees in the local community and enable them to contribute to the life of the city. We also aim to bring understanding by challenging stereotypes as well as engage with strategic agencies to bring change against the injustice refugees face. For more information, please visit www.cityofsanctuary.org/bradford , Also if you would like to get involved or you have any questions, please contact us on cofsbradford@gmail.com
  • Bradford was officially recognized as a ‘City of Sanctuary’at a National Network meeting of the City of Sanctuary movement on 18th November 2010 : “.. a place where a broad range of local organizations, community groups and faith communities, as well as local government, are publicly committed to welcoming and including people seeking sanctuary” __ It is fantastic that all the hard work of so many in this city to welcome and include those seeking sanctuary amongst us was officially recognized, as well as the incredible contributions to the life of the city of sanctuary seekers themselves. At that date an amazing 126 groups, organisations, places of worship and businesses had signed our ‘Resolution of Support’(clicking on the ‘Supporting Organisations ‘ tab on your right will show the latest number). Have a look at the attachment entitled ‘Supporters Actions’ to see examples of many of the inspiring ways in which these are turning their resolution into practical actions (you will need to click on the title line above first). With huge thanks to the Committee and all whose hard work made this possible.
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