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Your Monthly Update - August 2020

Dear <<First Name>>, 

I hope you are doing well. You will have seen in the news recently a flurry of press coverage about channel crossings and a resurgence of hostile views on the people who are arriving on boats in the south of England. These vulnerable people who have risked their lives to seek sanctuary in the UK, many escaping war or persecution in their home countries, have been attacked and vilified in the media and by our government when they should have our empathy and support. Beyond the headlines, every person making this journey is a human being who deserves compassion and respect - and has the legal right to claim asylum and not be punished for the way they reached sanctuary here. Plans threatened by the Home Secretary to make the English Channel crossing 'unviable' would be dangerous and cruel. Militarising the area would not be a long-term solution. People will only be prevented from attempting the risky journey when the government can offer a safe and legal alternative. This is something as supporters of people seeking sanctuary we must continue to promote and encourage our policy-makers to implement. Together with 100 other organisations and individuals we have signed a joint letter to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, calling for safe and legal routes. Our local paper, the Argus, put it so well in a recent editorial: migrants need our help, not hatred.

Best wishes,
Ruby Cardona Senker
Volunteer, Sanctuary on Sea


In the newsletter this month:
Information on COVID-19
Covidarity festival celebrates togetherness
Light in the Lockdown
Opportunity for BME person to influence key Council committee 
Brighton Table Tennis Club reopens
Masks for All
Campaign for Anugwom
National news from our Sanctuary network
Directory of Services

Don't forget you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:
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Covid-19 Updates 
Information on Covid-19
We keep our website updated with information about where to access coronavirus advice in many different languages. Please click hereWe have created a poster with information on where to find food and get meals delivered to you in Brighton & Hove during the pandemic which you can find here.

Please visit the Sussex Interpreting Service website for help accessing information in many different languages.

Migrant English Project in Brighton have released Help! In my Language, a resource linking to multi-language information on COVID-19, health, online safety, dealing with the police and other advice. Find it here

The London Renter's Union has released Renter's Rights Guides translated into 16 different languages. The current ban on evictions is due to end on 24th August and many people are being pressured to move. Read about your rights here.
Covidarity festival celebrates togetherness
The covidarity festival was an online celebration in July of the solidarity and togetherness born out of the pandemic and provided an opportunity to look at how we can continue this in a post-covid world. Three members of the Sussex Refugee and Migrant Self-Support group gave powerful talks as part of the festival. If you missed it, you can catch up here and listen to Tariq, Chipo and Facine talk about their political and social struggles in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Guinee. Sussex Action for Refugees (STAR) also curated an online collection of beautiful, thought-provoking artwork and writing for the festival. Check out the gallery here.


One of Claudia Malallah's mixed-media pieces exploring the hardships faced by refugees.
Light in the Lockdown 
The Interfaith Contact Group have put together this lovely short film exploring how our communities in Brighton & Hove responded to the pandemic and looked out for one another. Watch below or find it here.
Masks for All
Support destitute migrants while protecting yourself and those around you from coronavirus by purchasing your masks from Thousand 4 £1000. Their masks are a main source of income at the moment while events are on hold and the money is used to house and support migrants and refugees facing homelessness in Brighton. You can find them here
News and events in Brighton & Hove
Opportunity for BME person to influence key Council committee 
 Are you from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) background with a track record of championing equality and inclusion and a commitment to anti-racism and racial equality? This is an opportunity to attend and speak at meetings of Brighton & Hove City Council's key decision-making committee. It is a voluntary role, but you will be provided with support, training, and IT equipment and any expenses will be reimbursed.  More information can be found here.
Campaign for Anugwom
Anugwom Izuchukwu Goodluck, a young Nigerian man living in Brighton, made the news recently when the Home Office had ordered him to leave the UK by the end of July or face deportation. As a frontline careworker during COVID-19, the decision to remove him from the UK during this crisis is particularly cruel and unnecessary. In Nigeria, where he has no family connections, he faces persecution for being Christian and previously fled violence from Boko Haram before coming to study at the University of Sussex.

In July 2020 he was forced to give up his job as a full time carer after his visa application was denied. He has made it clear that his family and life is in the UK now, and returning would mean risking his life. MP Caroline Lucas has asked the Home Office to 
urgently reverse their decision. Anugwom spoke recently about the pain this ordeal has caused in a podcast which you can listen to here.

You can help by signing the petition to halt Anugwom's deportation here or contributing to a GoFundMe to pay for his legal fees here.
Brighton Table Tennis Club reopens
Our local Club of Sanctuary which brings together people from across the city for fun, informal ping pong sessions is now open again for limited numbers. You need to register an interest in playing by emailing
info@brightontabletennisclub.com, who will then invite you to a session. More information can be found here.
National news from our Sanctuary network
Connect and Create - creative summer activities!
Starting on Monday 17 August, City of Sanctuary will be running a series of online activities to celebrate what is important about being part of a community of sanctuary. Connect & Create is run by City of Sanctuary, Displace Yourself Theatre and Citizen Songwriters and includes interactive theatre on Mondays, sanctuary songwriting on Tuesdays, filmmaking on Wednesday and meditation and fun and games on a Friday.

Connect & Create takes place from Monday 17th August for 6 weeks (finishing on Friday 25th September 2020). The sessions will take place on Zoom where people across the network can meet, get to know each other and learn a new skill. The sessions are for anyone who wants to take part, especially those who are seeking sanctuary. If you have children or family at home they can join in too. City of Sanctuary can provide phone data to help people seeking sanctuary take part.

Find the timetable here.


Community rally around woman threatened with deportation 
There has been a fantastic campaign by residents in Birmingham rallying around an elderly woman from the community who faced being deported. 75-year-old Gurmit Kaur has lived in the area for 11 years and is much loved locally. When the Home Office threatened to send her to India, a place where she has no family ties, her neighbours came together to defend her right to stay and started a petition which has now reached over 55,000 signatures. The MP for the area, John Spellar, has also lent his support.
Home Office breaking law by failing to house asylum-seekers
The government is failing to provide asylum seekers with
accommodation while they await a decision or are not able to leave the UK yet, as required by law. Asylum seekers, many who are traumatised by their experiences, are being forced to wait months for housing. The situation has worsened during the pandemic as sofa surfing is now much trickier. 
Read more here.
Help Lift the Ban
The Lift the Ban campaign published a new report in July, finding that the government could raise around £100 million in tax revenue if they lifted the current ban on the right of asylum seekers to work. Following the report's release, City of Sanctuary have released some new ideas and resources for spreading the word. Check them out here and why not share a couple of the graphics on your social media?
Black Lives Matter resources
In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, City of Sanctuary have created a webpage with resources for anti-racist campaigners.
New Schools of Sanctuary website launched
The new Schools of Sanctuary website is now live - it's filled with resources, examples of good practice and useful guidance for applying for a School of Sanctuary award. Keep an eye out for a new resource pack launching the autumn. 
Miles for Refugees
The British Red Cross is organising a sponsored event challenging the nation to cover the miles a refugee might be forced to travel to reach safety - in just one month. This is an opportunity to raise funds to support the Red Cross to help people seeking sanctum in dozens of dispersal cities. More info here.
Freedom from Torture small grants scheme
Freedom from Torture has set up a fund to help small community-based organisations supporting survivors of torture while the pandemic is ongoing. One-off grants of between £200 - £2,000 are available from their Torture Survivor Emergency Relief Fund - find out more here.
Finally, we'd like to remind everyone that the Directory of Services available to refugees and migrants in Brighton and Hove is available online. Please send us any information and updates on changes to existing services or any new activities in response to COVID-19.

This directory lists organisations which offer support to, or are advocating on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. It also lists organisations which offer specific services of interest to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, as well as a small number of refugee- and migrant-led organisations. Please read and share as widely as you can. Please let us know if you would like your service to be included in the directory, or if your existing entry needs updating.
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