1.Schools of Sanctuary
We are delighted to tell you that, following the outstanding success of Schools of Sanctuary in Belfast, this important initiative has now taken off right across Ireland, with Schools of Sanctuary signing up in Galway, Dublin, Monaghan, Wexford, Waterford and Cork. Have a look at the impressive new Schools of Sanctuary Ireland website, where you find resources, guidelines and updates including a full list of participating schools https://schools-ireland.cityofsanctuary.org/ There are exciting opportunities for people seeking International protection to receive training as volunteers, thereby strengthening their skills and knowledge base. To find out more or to get involved, please contact [email protected]
2. Sanctuary in Higher Education
Working with our partners in Universities of Sanctuary and Irish Refugee Council, we will be hosting a zoom meeting on Wednesday 18th November to disseminate information and advice for school leavers and mature learners who wish to start a third level education course in 2021. The conference will have speakers from various Universities of Sanctuary and SUSI as well as other experts in the field. Numbers are limited so you are advised to register early via this link https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/sanctuary-in-higher-education-information-session-2-tickets-127870529195 For more information please contact [email protected]
3. Sanctuary in Music
Places of Sanctuary Ireland has received a donation of €850 which is specifically to promote musical activities among asylum seekers and refugees.
While it is, of course, difficult to launch musical activities during Covid-19, we are now inviting imaginative proposals for use of these funds. The intention is that we will give two awards unless we receive an exceptional proposal that justifies granting the full amount.
All that is required is a one page proposal outlining the benefits of your proposal to refugees, how you will use the funds as well as a budget.
Proposals should be submitted to [email protected] by November 30th.
4. Sanctuary Ambassador Training 2021.
Sanctuary in Politics has been broadened and extended to Sanctuary Ambassador training, and ran its first very successful course in Wexford during 2019 and 2020. In spite of lockdown, meetings have continued and the Wexford Sanctuary Manifesto was prepared and presented to the local council and to all county Oireachtas members, who shared it with Government colleagues. Sanctuary Ambassadors have been active during lockdown, with some getting involved in Schools of Sanctuary and others starting a Wexford Sanctuary Runners group.
There will be a new Sanctuary Ambassadors training course beginning for refugees and asylum seekers across the country. Updated information will be posted on the new webpage https://ireland.cityofsanctuary.org/sanctuary-ambassadors Please contact us to register your interest or find out more.
5. Changes in Places of Sanctuary Board
We want to let you know that Philip Berman is retiring from his role as Chair of Places of Sanctuary Ireland Board in December. We know you will want to join us in thanking Philip for all the work he has done to help get the board established and running smoothly over recent years.
The board has a small team that is leading the process of searching for a new Chair. If you have any suggestions to make or if you are interested in this role, please contact Andy Pollak on [email protected]
6. New Advisory Group Report Published
The much-awaited report, chaired by Dr. Catherine Day, has now been published. It includes recommendations for sweeping reforms in the asylum system including accommodation and decision making. It is a long report but includes a useful summary of main points for each chapter. We recommend that anyone involved with supporting asylum seekers looks at this report. https://schools-ireland.cityofsanctuary.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/168/2020/10/Report-of-the-Advisory-Group-on-the-Provision-of-Support-including-Accommodation-to-Persons-in-the-International-Protection-Process.pdf
7. Churches of Sanctuary Webimar
Irish Inter-Church are organising a webimar on Tuesday 10th November from 10.30am to 12. Among the speakers you will hear Inderjit Bhogal, founder of City of Sanctuary and always an inspiring speaker. Anyone with an interest in how to become a Church of Sanctuary is welcome register through this link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/churches-of-sanctuary-webinar-tickets-127158427279
We know that this year has been really difficult for many of you especially those seeking International Protection, and almost every life has been affected in some way. You have gone through delays in interviews or decisions from the justice department; reduced availability of services; families having to get through months in close quarters when schools were closed; anxieties about health and lots of unknowns about the future. We want you to know that we really want to support and stand with you, and that we applaud the ways so many of you have shown positivity and resilience in the most trying of circumstances.
Sanctuary – a culture that welcomes and includes new arrivals to our country – is needed more than ever. We are proud of the many ways you have made it clear that we may be locked down but our creativity and commitment is unhampered and continues to thrive.