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Your Monthly Update - May 2020

Dear <<First Name>>, 

We hope you are staying well. In this edition we have grouped together useful resources to help refugee and migrant communities at this time, as well as sources of reliable information on Covid-19 because we're aware that misinformation about the virus is spreading. We want to ensure that the right information is reaching people, so please share the resources we have provided below. Please also visit our new webpage on coronavirus resources and services around the city and get in touch with us if you have a service you think we should promote. 

We have been convening a weekly Zoom meeting of local organisations supporting migrants and refugees in Brighton and Hove to discuss the impact of COVID on communities and coordinate our response. Initially we focused on making sure that no one was going hungry and coordinating food deliveries. Now we are broadening to other themes, such as housing the homeless and provision of information in community languages. Look out for the Coronavirus information posters in community languages that are appearing in shops.

This week we invited people with lived experience to join a zoom call with Chief Superintendent Nick May to try to tackle some of the rumours about the policing of social distancing in the city. Chief Superintendent May has assured us that that you can go out as long as you follow the Government guidelines. Officers will always speak to people and encourage them to keep within guidelines first and will only issue a fine as a last resort. Some people have been concerned by the increased visibility of police officers during the lockdown and we have requested that Sussex police be aware that seeing uniformed police can trigger disturbing memories for seekers of sanctuary. Sussex police have responded to questions about the increase in police presence during this time on their website.

Finally, we wanted to flag a new social media campaign launched by the Refugee Buddy Project run by Hastings Community of SanctuaryThis initiative, directed by Alex Kempton from the Buddy Project, seeks to “push back against the misinformation being spread online about refugees, why they come here, and what their lives are like.” A disturbing side effect of the pandemic has been a rise in suspicion towards migrants and refugees, with some people incorrectly placing blame on movement of people for the virus spreading.

It comes also as reports from France show that the hostile environment in Calais is harsher than ever. Police appear to have upped their harassment and eviction of refugees, particularly cruel at this time when travel in the country is heavily restricted. As borders close and the work of NGOs is limited, refugees crossing the mediterranean are also falling through the cracks and finding that Covid-19 is yet another border to reaching sanctuary. Check out the myth-busting infographics created by the Buddy project here and share widely.

Best wishes,
Ruby Cardona Senker
Sanctuary on Sea volunteer 

In the newsletter this month:

Covid-19 updates
Sources of information on Covid-19
Translated resources

If you need food
Social prescribing
Sussex Crisis Fund
Safety from domestic abuse
Reporting hate crimes
Refugees help in Brighton's Covid-19 response
Join our conversation with Brighton Police Chief Superintendent
Free films online

Brighton Refugee Week 2020
Message in a bottle
Evening of live music from Best Foot, 18th June, 7.30pm
Do a Simple Act!
Imagine a world garden

Get in touch!

National news from our Sanctuary network
Government scraps NHS surcharge
Urgent call - increase financial support for sanctuary-seekers
Let us be together: Margaret Fingerhut's fundraising finale
The 'Virtual Sanctuary'
'City of Hope': Bristol City of Sanctuary
Advocacy: what you can do from home
Sanctuary stories online
Survey on the integration framework
Free online summer leadership programme

Directory of Services

Don't forget you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:
Covid-19 Updates 
Sources of information on Covid-19
There have been reports that some members of our communities have been too terrified to leave their houses because they haven’t understood how the virus is transmitted, how to stay safe and the rules on social distancing. It is common for people with language needs to rely on word of mouth and this can lead to the circulation of mis-information from other countries which may have different regulations or misunderstanding due to language barriers. To tackle misinformation in communities, we and our partners, particularly SIS, have been working with the council to disseminate accurate information. Read more here.

In Brighton, the Sussex Interpreting Service is running remotely. If you need an interpreting service, book though their website. For emergency interpreting (spoken language) call 07811 459315. For translation services (written information) go to their services page. If English is not your first language, look at the language pages on the Sussex Interpreting Service website. 

Coronavirus advice in different languages
Coronavirus advice has been translated into 51 languages so far by Doctors of the World - click here. 

Brighton Covid-19 website
The COVID-19 website for Brighton & Hove has loads of resources and signposts to lots of local services. It can be read in 7 different languages. Click here.

Council advice on coronavirus
The Brighton & Hove council website on the COVID-19 is a good source of local information and is updated daily - click here.

If you have any particular concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on your community, please get in touch with
Translated resources
Government advice on staying home and staying safe (Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Urdu, Romani) Click here.

Letter from the Prime Minister and door drop leaflet (Bengali, Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Romani, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Urdu) Click here.

Mental health and wellbeing advice (Polish, Russian, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Romanian, Romani and Somali) Click here.
If you need food
If you need to request help for yourself or someone else at this time, you can do it through the Community Hub - click here or telephone 01273 293117 (spoken interpreting and BSL are available on this number).

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership coronavirus page has advice on where to get food for free or low cost in the city, plus advice for people who want to volunteer to distribute food - click here.

They have also shared this helpful document: How to cook and eat well with limited equipment and money

If you're a refugee or asylum seeker struggling to find food there are several organisations working to provide food for free or at low cost via pick-up points or home delivery: 
The Real Junk Food Project are running weekly meals for the community on Wednesdays at St Luke's Church (64 Old Shoreham Road, Brighton BN1 5DD). The food is available to take away for free or by donation. They are also still running their hubs several days a week at different sites across Brighton & Hove where you can pick up food items for free or a donation. Please note that all payments are card-only. More information on their services here.
Brighton Cauldron
Brighton Cauldron is a new social enterprise giving out food parcels to BAME families in Brighton. Food can be collected or delivered to homes in Hove, Portslade and Patcham. They are now taking referrals from individuals or service providers. To make a referral, contact or call 07912869536. They will be operating from The Barn, Westdene, Dene Vale, Brighton BN1 5ED.
Voices in Exile are running an emergency food delivery service in East Brighton. Find out more on their Facebook here. If you are an existing client and usually access their food bank (pre COVID-19) phone 01273 328598 to arrange a food delivery.

Brighton Table Tennis Club are running a new food distribution service – food parcels and hot meals every day between 1 - 4pm from their club car park (The Fitzherbert's Centre, 36 Upper Bedford St, Brighton BN2 1JP). You can call to arrange a delivery on 01273 670145
See more info here.
East Brighton Food Cooperative
If you live in East Brighton and need a freshly prepared nutritious hot meal or a food parcel during Covid-19 contact them to place an order by emailing: 
or call 01273 885068 and leave a message and they will call you back.
The BMECP Food Bank provides emergency food parcels for people in crisis who live in Brighton and Hove. Each food parcel contains non-perishable and nutritionally balanced food items. The food bank is open every Friday from 12pm to 3pm. You need to download a referral form here and send it to
The Trust for Developing Communities are offering additional support for people who are Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic. Social prescribing can offer friendly phone calls and signposting to relevant services, like finding food and medical supplies. See details below to get in contact.
Sussex Community Foundation, a grants-giving charity, have launched a new fund to help mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic communities in Sussex. It is designed to help fund the emerging needs facing those communities and the charities and community groups that support them. Initially, emergency grants of up to £5,000 are available. If you have a project or group that could benefit from their support, see the fund's criteria 
and application form. There are FAQs here
Safety from domestic abuse
Domestic abuse organisations around the UK have witnessed a sharp rise in people getting in touch and needing support since the lockdown. There is help available in Brighton & Hove if you need it:

RISE are working to support people experiencing abuse at home. Visit their website aimed at black and ethnic minorities here. The page is available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, Polish and Urdu.

The Survivor's Network have a new web/phone helpline for female survivors of sexual violence needing some support.

The national domestic abuse hotline is: 
0808 2000 247. It's free and open 24 hours a day.

If you are in a dangerous or unsafe situation at home, you do not have to isolate in that household. There is more information on this here.
Reporting hate crimes
There has been a rise in hate speech and hate crimes during the pandemic. 
This can be really frightening and unnerving, especially at this time. If you need to report an incident or speak to someone an experience, you can get in touch with the Racial Harassment Forum in Brighton, who can help. They can be reached by mobile
 07916999910 or email 
Refugees help in Brighton's Covid-19 response
Several Iranian refugees who live in Brighton & Hove have been helping their community cope with the pandemic by distributing newsletters on behalf of the council. The three friends distributed over 1,500 newsletters to homes in Central Brighton and were delighted to do what they could to help the community that is their home now. Mos said:

"With love and affection, we say hello to each and every citizen in the dream city of Brighton and that together we will defeat Corona with unity and empathy. We are ready to do any useful work and want to sincerely thank the NHS, the government and the Council for all they are doing."
Free films online
The London Migration Film festival has gone online this year in light of the current situation. They are currently showing a retrospective of the festival's last 3 years, bringing some of their favourite films to a free online platform for you to enjoy at home. More info here.
Refugee Week 2020
Brighton Refugee Week 2020
The exciting thing about this year’s festival is that the local can be national, and the national local, as everything is going online. We're looking forward to a new digital exhibition by Norwich City of Sanctuary telling the untold stories of the 4,000 Basque children who came to Britain, many to East Anglia, to escape the Spanish Civil War. Using rarely seen film footage and original photographs along with the voices of rescuers and refugees, this sounds like a unique way to explore the history of sanctuary in this country. It will go live in June and is part of the National Day of Welcome (12th June).

There are lots of exciting things happening in Brighton, too:
Message in a bottle
Message in a Bottle is a collaborative project by Gil Mualem-Doron and Jane Lancashire - and contributions are still welcome! We highlighted last month the fantastic installation by Jane marking refugee lives lost in the Mediterranean sea. Another part of the project is creating digital postcards with messages of support to refugees who are embarking on dangerous journeys for safety and freedom. All you need to do is to leave a message of support on Gil's voicemail on 07706 873322 - it can be your own words or a quote from a poem, book, speech or something else. In return, you'll get a unique digital postcard like the one below, which can be shared online. The postcards will also form part of an online exhibition for Refugee Week. Read more about the project here.
Evening of live music from Best Foot, 18th June, 7.30pm
Best Foot Music will be celebrating the week with an evening of music bringing together musicians from culturally diverse backgrounds based in the UK. Here is the confirmed line-up, so far - with more to come! 
  • Jamal & Alaa (Syrian music)
  • Bashir Al Gamar (Sudanese)
  • Polina & Merlin Shepherd (Russian/Jewish folk)
Join them online here for a celebration of musical heritage from around the world on 18th June at 7.30pm. Click 'going' on their Facebook event to be reminded on the day. Here's a video of Jamal & Alaa to whet your appetite. 

Do a Simple Act!
What would your school, community or city look like, if you made the rules? 

This year's Simple Act is an invitation for children and young people to step back from the current moment and imagine the world you want to see. You can take this Simple Act wherever your imagination wants to go and start as small or as big as you like. Here are some ideas:
  • Draw, paint, craft or write a poem or story about the world you want to see
  • Write a poem or short story starting with ‘Imagine if…’ or ‘Imagine a world where…’
  • Imagine you had to leave your home behind. What would you take with you? What would you hope to find?
  • Stick your imagining in your window, send it to a friend and share it on Instagram using the hashtags #SimpleActs #Imagine. Don't forget to use #BHRefugeeWeek so we know you're from Brighton & Hove!
For more Refugee Week ideas for children and young people, see this briefing we have prepared.  The BEEM website has lots of information about Schools of Sanctuary in Brighton & Hove and resources for them.
Imagine a world garden
A new online project has launched to mark Refugee Week in Brighton this year. "Imagine a world garden' is a Facebook group open to anyone to post in. Here's how to take part:
  • Select an image of a tree, plant or flower that you like, has special meaning to you or a great significance in your culture.
  • Write about it (350 words maximum) and post the image or
  • Present your tree, plant or flower through painting, poetry, music, or other medium.
You can find the page here. Tag us @BrightonSanct in your post and we'll share them!
Get in touch!
Do you have any imaginative ideas for online and digital activities we could run as part of Brighton Refugee Week on 15 - 21 June? This year's theme is 'imagine'. Get in touch:

Our 'Together' day in 2019 - more pictures here

National news from our Sanctuary network
Government scraps NHS surcharge
The UK government recently made a U-turn on its policy of charging foreign people to use the NHS. After defending the policy for some time, prime minister Boris Johnson announced in May that NHS staff and care workers will no longer have to pay a health surcharge of £400.

Campaigners have welcomed the shift in policy, which many argued was an unfair burden on migrant workers. The fee still applies to many migrant workers who work outside of health and social care and is due to rise to over £623 in October. There are now calls for the fee to be waived for all migrant workers in this country.
Urgent call - increase financial support for sanctuary-seekers
The City of Sanctuary movement is mobilising groups and supporters behind the call for the Home Office to urgently increase financial support to people seeking sanctuary to keep them safe during the current COVID-19 crisis. The current asylum support has now dropped to £37 per week. No one can safely live on £5 a day. Please write to your MP with these handy tools and templates.
Let us be together: Margaret Fingerhut's fundraising finale
Internationally acclaimed pianist Margaret Fingerhut will be holding an online fundraising concert for City of Sanctuary on Friday 5th June, 8pm, including collaborations with viola player Raghad Haddad and singer-songwriter Sam Slatcher from Songs of Sanctuary and other special guests. Last year, we were incredibly grateful to host her at Brighton College for a fund-raising concert. If you missed it, or would like to hear her play again, please save the date and spread the word to help Margaret reach her target of £88k (currently £82k) - £1k for every key on a piano!

The concert will be live streamed on the City of Sanctuary Facebook page
The 'Virtual Sanctuary' 
City of Sanctuary Sheffield, the first City of Sanctuary have created a "Virtual Sanctuary" reflecting the support network across the city providing ongoing and enhanced services.

They have also created a very comprehensive Asylum Journey tool with support and advice for each stage of the UK's asylum-seeking process - check it out here - although please note that some of the resources are tailored toward asylum-seekers in the Sheffield area.
'City of hope': Bristol City of Sanctuary
Realising that refugees and asylum seekers are a high-risk community in the current pandemic, Bristol’s refugee sector immediately came together through the Bristol Refugee Forum to ensure people seeking sanctuary are supported. A variety of organisations are providing all kinds of support from food distributions to helping mothers with little or no other support. Read more about Bristol City of Sanctuary's impressive response to the crisis here.
Advocacy: What you can do from home
City of Sanctuary have put together this useful webpage of actions you can take from the comfort of your home to help sanctuary-seekers. This includes campaigning for free healthcare for migrants, permission to work for asylum-seekers and bringing an end to indefinite detention in the UK.
Sanctuary Stories Online
City of Sanctuary has launched #SanctuaryStoriesOnline, a collaborative film-making project to share your stories of being involved with City of Sanctuary from your homes! Anyone can take part, whether you wish to share your story through film, camera or over a zoom call with one of the team. Find out more about the project here.
Survey on the integration framework
The Home Office recently updated its Indicators of Integration framework. To support the capacity of civil society organisations to use the framework and associated tools, they’ve been working to develop training materials. Civil society organisations are invited to complete a short survey, which will inform the development of pilot webinars to be delivered in June. Organisations completing the survey will be invited to the specialised training webinars. CSOs must complete the survey and register their interest in participating by 27 May. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in participating and we can share the survey and more information.
Free online Summer leadership programme
Applications are now open for ‘Responding to Covid-19 Online Summer Leadership Programme: UK Migration & Refugee Sector’. The programme provides the tools, skills and development to overcome challenges, and to foster relationships that benefit organisations and the sector as a whole. It enables people to reach their leadership potential, build resilience and grow peer support networks during these challenging and uncertain times, through online learning and/or coaching. People from diverse backgrounds and those with lived experience of the immigration system are encouraged to apply.  Applications will be considered first-come first-served basis so apply ASAP - more info and how to apply 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.

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.
Copyright © 2020 Sanctuary on Sea, All rights reserved.

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