For the Period from 17.5.12 to 15.5.13
Although a relatively quiet year for the group as a whole, our other activities have been eclipsed by the hugely encouraging early successes of the Sanctuary in Schools project (see below). We have lost some key members as they moved away from Bradford or took on other commitments, however once again we have been joined by several wonderful and inspiring individuals. We remain a small group, but recognize that our impact is disproportionate to our limited human and financial resources.
Sanctuary in Schools (SiS) Project
Following successful funding applications to Two28 and Near Neighbours, we were able to appoint Mary Blacka at the end of September on an initial 12 month consultancy basis. We were overwhelmed by the volume and calibre of applicants and were delighted to be able to appoint someone with energy and enthusiasm, as well as much relevant experience.
SiS is aimed at all primary and secondary schools in Bradford though, due to funding requirements, BD8 and BD9 postcodes are prioritised. It is invaluable to be able to partner with Bradford Action for Refugees (www.bafr.org.uk) and the Zephaniah Trust (www.zephaniah.org.uk). SiS is also supported by the School of Health Studies at the University of Bradford. A Steering Group, chaired by Darryl Hackett has been established, latterly with representation from two participating schools.
The project invites schools to work towards the national award of ‘School of Sanctuary’. Participating schools undertake to learn about what it means to be seeking sanctuary, to embed this knowledge in the curriculum and daily life of the school and to take the message of welcome and sanctuary out into their local communities.
To achieve the award schools have to compile a portfolio of evidence, the whole process taking about a year with support from the SiS project worker. Zephaniah Trust offers a drama project – Refugee Voices – for students from Year 5 upwards. Bradford Action for Refugees provides interactive Myth Busting sessions for Years 5 to 8, exploring the reasons why asylum seekers come to the UK and their experiences here.
The project is currently in dialogue with eleven schools, of which two so far are formally committed to becoming Schools of Sanctuary. Mary has also been working closely with Leeds Schools of Sanctuary in developing national guidelines and an information pack, and led a well-attended workshop at the national City of Sanctuary conference on a very snowy Saturday in January. She is actively working to secure funding to enable the project to continue after September.
150+ Celebration: 10th November
The event was a huge success, bringing together people from at least 20 different nationalities to celebrate the fact that Bradford City of Sanctuary had achieved over 150 supporting organisations since its launch 4 years earlier. Appropriately, at least 150 people attended during the afternoon (including many children) and enjoyed live music, drumming and circus-skills workshops, as well as a fabulous hot meal cooked by Horton Housing’s HOSTS refugee women’s project. Once again we had good media coverage with an article in the Telegraph & Argus and interviews on BCB radio.
Sanctuary Tent at the Mela
For the fourth year running, we booked a marquee, put together a fabulous programme of refugee musicians and performers, displays and free refreshments and advertised widely. In the event, the dreadful UK summer weather meant that Peel Park became water-logged and the Mela was cancelled at 24 hours notice….. This was a huge disappointment but became the impetus for organising the 150+ event above.
Refugee Week: w/c 18th June
We participated in the successful launch, taking our display to the wonderful Kala Sangam venue. With the Lord Mayor opening, the Chief Executive of Bradford Council providing the keynote address and very good attendance, it was a very useful event once again for raising our profile.
Positive Bradford Day: 24th June
A clash of dates meant that the usual city centre Refugee Week Finale event could not take place. However we took a major role in organizing a Refugee Zone tent, with displays from a range of local asylum support organisations and superb hot food, cooked once again by Horton Housing’s HOSTS refugee women’s project. Yet again however the weather intervened and strong winds and continuous rain kept away the large crowds of PB 2011. Despite this 200 people were fed and there was a steady flow (people as well as water) through the tent – not least to shelter from the rain!
- Talks and Displays. Once again we participated in a number of events in addition to the above including: the marvellous annual Bradford Peace Fair, the biannual Bradford Anglican Diocesan Day, Why Refugee Women’s destitution report launch and the West Yorkshire Destitute Asylum Network (WYDAN) launch in Leeds.
We held two all-day displays at the very moving and critically acclaimed Refugee Boy performances at West Yorkshire Playhouse. As well as welcoming these, and offering 120 free tickets to the performances for asylum seekers and refugees, WYP have gone extra miles by setting up a steering group, mainly comprising local refugees, to work towards becoming the UK’s first ‘Theatre of Sanctuary’. Mary (SiS) is attending and reporting back.
- French Visit. During Refugee Week we met with representatives of refugee organisations in Montpelier and Marseille who were interested in developing a French C of S network. They were very impressed by all they saw and heard in Bradford.
- Resolutions of Support. The tally of organisations, places of worship and businesses that have signed our resolution of support has crept up to an amazing 156. We send regular email communications to over 200 organisations and individuals and often hear of practical responses following. One cause for huge celebration was the overturning of removal directions for a very inspiring and active local asylum seeking family, and the award very shortly after of refugee status. BCoS had publicised their campaign.
- Welcome to Bradford (W2B). Following the successful initiative of the ‘Welcome to Leeds’ project by Leeds CofS, we decided to catalyse the development of a W2B project. The concept is both simple and inspiring: trained volunteers (mostly from the local asylum seeker and refugee community) visit asylum seekers newly dispersed to Bradford, to help them in the critical first few weeks of orientation to the city.
W2B now has its own Steering Group, chaired by Jackie Coutts, and is progressing well, with the hope of launching within a few months.
- National Involvement:
- Conference. A small group from Bradford managed to reach Manchester, despite heavy snow, and participate in the excellent national CofS conference. We were inspired by news of many encouraging developments across the UK. Mary was able to lead a well-attended workshop on Schools of Sanctuary, which shows signs of taking off in several other UK cities.
- Advisor to trustees. Following his involvement in 2011, helping develop the national CofS board of trustees, Will has acted as an advisor to the Board, principally in helping produce recommendations for revised criteria and processes for towns and cities wishing to work towards formal ‘City of Sanctuary’ status.
- New Arrivals Operations Group. We continue to have play an active part in the multi-agency New Arrivals Operations Group, coordinated by Bradford Council.
- Website and Facebook. With thanks to Eleanor and Francesca, we now have 137 Facebook (‘City of Sanctuary Bradford’) ‘likes’ and regular messages are circulated. Will and Mary periodically update our pages on the very comprehensive national website (http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/bradford).
- In addition to all the above, we are involved in daily networking, information-sharing and resourcing other organisations and individuals. We see putting people together as one of the key benefits of what we do.
As noted above, we are indebted to Two28 and Near Neighbours for enabling the development of our Sanctuary in Schools project.
We continue to be very grateful to Touchstone Methodist Centre for invaluable goodwill and support-in-kind.
The Committee over the past year has been:
- Will Sutcliffe – Chair
- Helen Kemp – Vice Chair
- Linda White – Secretary
- Francesca Archer-Todde – Treasurer
- Joe Batt
- Apeles Onyango (resigned mid-year due to conflicting commitments)
- Christy Bischoff
- Jenna Warr
A number of others have regularly attended our monthly meetings and made very significant contributions to our work.
|2013 Annual Report||115.5 KB|
|2012 Annual Report||138 KB|
|2011 Annual Report||107 KB|
|2010 Annual Report||109.5 KB|