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Your Monthly Update - January 2020

Dear <<First Name>>, 

It has been a turbulent past month with the election of a new government just before Christmas. In Brighton, we're pleased that local political leaders have pledged their continuing commitment to making Brighton & Hove a place of welcome and inclusivity. In an open letter of unity to the Home Office last month, they promoted Brighton's internationally recognised City of Sanctuary status and renewed their support for an open, fair society.

In the lead up to Christmas, the writer Neil Gaiman wrote a moving poem 'What do you need to keep warm?' from 1,000 different tweets. It was written to mark the launch of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Winter Appeal for refugees in the Middle East living in conditions below zero degrees. You can read more about the campaign here and about how Gaiman crafted his poem here.

Enjoy the newsletter.

Best wishes,

Ruby Cardona Senker
Sanctuary on Sea volunteer 

In the newsletter this month:

We try to promote any refugee or migration-related event going on in the city by sharing on our Facebook page. If you would like us to promote your event or flag a campaign, just drop us a message on Facebook.

Don't forget you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram:
Local Updates 
Castaway Heritage - a new book from Refugee Radio
How does it feel to be a castaway in the UK today? The latest book from Refugee Radio is based on interviews with refugees and asylum seekers living in Brighton and East Sussex, and the people who work with those communities. It tells their stories, in their own words. Read about the Castaway Heritage project here and order a copy of the new book here.

Schools and libraries can contact Refugee Radio directly for a free copy of the book and their new schools pack.
Thousand4£1000 annual report
Our friends at Thousand4£1000 (T4K) have released an annual report for 2018-19 detailing their achievements. Last year, they were able to directly provide accommodation and other support to 27 adults and 12 children, reunite two families, raise over £12,000 through community events and lots more. Read the report in full here.
Nursery World article features local school of sanctuary
The Royal Spa Nursery School in Brighton - the first nursery to be accredited as a School of Sanctuary - has been featured in a piece in Nursery World about tackling social isolation. Royal Spa has become a place of welcome by training staff to raise awareness of refugees and asylum seekers, holding cultural events for children and their families and working with the local council’s Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) to help settle refugee children. The article features some great ideas about how to make your school or nursery a place of sanctuary. Get in touch if you would like your nursery to be a nursery of sanctuary.
Calais solidarity trip
A group of people from Brighton, including people linked to Sanctuary on Sea, will travel to Calais at the end of February to volunteer with Care4Calais, providing aid and support to refugees living rough across northern France. As this time of year is particularly cold, they are fundraising to buy jogging bottoms - these can make a huge difference to someone's warmth and comfort when facing the elements. The crowdfunder is here.

Coming up in Brighton & Hove
Conversation café, 8 Jan - 25 March
Do you want to practice English in a safe, fun group and meet other women? Would you like to be able to speak everyday English more easily? Jubilee Library in Brighton have a new English language class for women starting in January. It's free and will run on Wednesdays 1 - 2.30pm from 8th January to 25th March 2020. The class is suitable for people at all levels of English. The Library is located at Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE.

Cooking on a budget, starting 16 Jan
In this five-week course, participants learn how to create delicious, low-cost meals with cupboard essentials – from chilli to curry and soups to cakes – as well as how to  make the most of any leftovers. Each session includes a shared lunch, and most dishes cooked during the course are vegetarian. The course will also cover key cookery skills, advice on healthy eating and nutrition and tips for smarter shopping. Booking is open now and the total cost of the course is £25 (£5 per session). This is aimed at people in receipt of means tested benefit, but is also open to people on low incomes so get in touch with Kate if you are not sure about eligibility - / 01273 234810. It takes place on Thursdays 10 - 12.30pm from 16 January 2020 to 13 February. Book a place here.
Free football session, 18 Jan
There is a free football session for young refugees this Saturday morning 11am-12pm at The Manor Gym, East Brighton (Manor Road, BN2 5EA). A coach will be on site to lead on training and it will be a chance for refugees to have a kickabout and enjoy themselves. Water and half-time oranges will be provided. Unfortunately, boots and kit will not be provided. Meet Ben Munro in Brighton station by Marks & Spencer 10am or at Manor Gym at 11. Contact Ben on 07881435344 if you have players interested or you want to attend.

Calais Action Brighton winter collection, 25 January

Calais Action Brighton are collecting shoes, hats, gloves, scarves, socks and underwear to send to Calais. The collection is at St Andrews Church, Hove, on 25th January from 10am. Check out their Facebook page for more details on the most urgently needed items.

You can also drop items on the 23rd and 24th Jan from 8am-4pm at The Mighty Seed Cafe, on Islingword Road in Hanover.
This is Who I Am, 7 Feb

‘Then they separated us. We tried to say no, we applied for asylum as a couple. They say we don’t have any civil evidence that we are a couple. And we’re like “how can we show you any civil evidence if homosexuality is forbidden in my country? Would you want us to go back, get married and be killed?”’

Read by performers from ice&fire theatre companyThis Is Who I Am interweaves first hand accounts of LGBTQIA+ peoples experiences of the UK asylum process. The reading will be followed by a Q&A discussion panel. Tickets are 'pay what you decide' and it takes place from 19:30-20:30 at the Marlborough Pub & Theatre4 Princes Street, BN2 1RD Brighton. 
Regular events in Brighton & Hove
Sanctuary Café, Saturdays 
The new Sanctuary Café runs once a month on Saturday afternoons at the Hove Methodist church (Portland Rd, Hove BN3 5NF). The idea is to create a space where people can share food and friendship with people seeking safety in our city. Food is veggie and free or with donation. The next one will be Saturday 11 Jan.

See all the dates for 2019/2020 here.
Maté Café, Saturdays
The Mate Café intercultural social club serves delicious vegan Syrian food and mate tea on Saturday afternoons (12.30 - 3pm) monthly at the Cowley Club (12 London Rd, Brighton BN1 4JA). Entertainment is also provided in the form of live music, dance/ music workshops and activities for children. See upcoming dates here.
Global Social Club, Mondays
The GSC is a youth club for 14 - 25 year olds across the city run in collaboration between the Hummingbird Project, Refugee Council, Pathways to Independence and the Young Peoples Centre. They put on a range of fun, interactive sessions throughout the year open to all. It takes place on Mondays 5 - 7pm at Brighton Youth Centre (69 Ship St, Brighton BN1 1AE). More info here.
Global Tots, Mondays (monthly)
Global Tots is a 'stay and play' group for refugee and migrant mothers with children under 5. They meet on the last Monday of every month at the Friends Meeting House (Ship St, Brighton BN1 1AF). The idea is to provide English and social support alongside usual stay and play group activities, including arts and crafts/ sensory play, toys, free snacks and circle time.

Jollof Café, Tuesdays
The Jollof serves delicious, vegan African food at just £4 a meal in support of destitute migrants. Based at the Cowley Club from 12.30pm every Tuesday. The Cowley is located at 12 London Rd, Brighton BN1 4JA.
The Real Junk Food Café, Wednesdays
Hosted on Wednesdays at St John the Baptist Parish Hall, in collaboration with Brighton Voices in Exile and Brighton Table Tennis Club, the Real Junk Food Project turn food that would otherwise have been wasted into delicious meals cooked by professional chefs. The meal is pay-as-you-feel and leftover produce is available to take away on a donation basis. The hall is located at 2 Bristol Rd, Brighton BN2 1AP.

The Network of International Women for Brighton & Hove, Wednesdays
The network provides a space for women from different cultures and backgrounds to meet, share experiences and support one another. Come along to sew, knit, make crafts and chat on Wednesdays, 10am - 12 at Jubilee Library Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE. Free to attend. Contact 

Coming up in London and the South East
Exhibition of art from refugees living in Greek camp, 6 - 17 Jan
London will be the setting for a January exhibition and auction of art by people living in Moria camp, on the Greek island of Lesbos. The proceeds will go to the Hope Project, an initiative that promotes greater dignity for refugees and aims to transform the way they are seen. Nine paintings will be exhibited in St James’s Church, Piccadilly, from 6 to 17 January 2020 and a charity auction will take place on 13 January.
Refugee Solidarity Summit, 31 Jan - 1 Feb
Sanctuary volunteers are invited to The Refugee Solidarity Summit on 31 January and 1 February organised by Solidarity with Refugees, Humans for Rights Network and the weareone:collective.

Every year, huge numbers of people act in solidarity with refugees  – many addressing urgent and unmet needs of displaced people in the UK and across Europe. Much of this humanitarian work is undertaken voluntarily and its impact is enormous, yet often goes unacknowledged. 

Volunteers have built support systems that would otherwise be lacking for displaced people – often in gruelling conditions. Initiatives range from search-and-rescue missions to the provision of regular warm meals, shelter, healthcare, therapy, informal education, legal advice and compassionate human contact. In the past year, volunteers and staff have reported unprecedented levels of trauma and burn-out.

This summit is an opportunity to regroup, receive training and support and build resilience in the face of an increasingly hostile environment.

Sign up here.
Refugee Week Conference 2020, 10 and 13 February
The Refugee Week Conference is a day of inspiration, workshops and discussion in preparation for Refugee Week (15-21 June), which for 2020 has the theme ‘Imagine’. Two separate events will take place in February:

Refugee Week conference, London, 10 February 2020
At the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre
25 New Inn Yard, Hackney, London EC2A 3EA.

Refugee Week conference, Bristol, 13 February 2020
At the Trinity Centre,
 Trinity Rd, Bristol BS2 0NW.

Whether you’re involved in arts and culture, sports, education, activism, media, community work and/ or are from a refugee background yourself – and whether you’re a Refugee Week veteran, or getting involved for the first time – all are welcome!
Syria in Sussex, 22 Feb
We welcome Syrian refugees but how much do we know about their culture, including their wonderful music? Among those who have found homes here are some great musicians. East Hoathly and Halland Village of Sanctuary are planning a concert in East Hoathly in February to bring some of this talent to their supporters and surrounding communities. To put on the evening, they need to raise £500 to cover fees. Ticket money and donations will go toward this - click here to get a ticket for what looks like a fantastic evening of music and celebration.

At: East Hoathly Parish Church, Church Marks Lane, East Hoathly, BN8 6EQ. Starts 19:30pm.
National news from our Sanctuary network
Government drops amendment helping unaccompanied refugee children
The government has dropped an amendment that would have offered unaccompanied minors living in Europe the chance to reunite with their families in the UKK safely and legally. With the UK exit from the EU, we will no longer be part of the Dublin regulation which allows children to be reunited with relatives. An amendment brought forward by Lord Dubs to negotiate the terms of Dublin was well received before Christmas, but the new government have quietly removed this from their new withdrawal bill. Lord Dubs is currently campaigning to pass a new amendment in the House of Lords to protect some of the most vulnerable children. The Families Together campaign, which is supported by City of Sanctuary, has published a report detailing the devastating effects of family separation on children who have sought safety in this country, including constant anxiety, fear for their families’ safety, and in some cases serious mental health problems.
Theme for Refugee Week 2020 'Imagine'
The theme for Refugee Week 2020 has been announced as 'Imagine'. The organisers want us to look beyond our current systems and imagine a better future. You can get involved by holding or taking part in a Refugee Week event or activity, or by doing one of our Refugee Week 2020 Simple Acts (coming soon). However you respond, we hope you’ll join us in an act of collective imagining and help make Brighton & Hove Refugee Week 2020 the biggest, loudest and most creative Refugee Week yet during 14 - 21 June 2020. The Brighton Dome has again offered us their space for our Together day on Sunday 21 June.  If you would like to get involved in that, or would like to run your own event, please get in touch via our Facebook page, or email
Three new Schools of Sanctuary announced
In December, three more schools joined the growing list of Schools of Sanctuary around the country. All three are located in Salford and have demonstrated a genuine commitment to learning, embedding and sharing knowledge about asylum seeker and refugee children and families.
The fabric of our lives – an immersive Photographic and Textile Exhibition set to tour the UK in 2020
Fabric of Our Lives is a new installation by Artist, Matilda Velevitch and Photographer, Sol Aizcorbe. It comprises of seven large hanging tapestries, a photographic exhibition  and audio stories. In 2019, a series of fabric based artistic workshops were held for women in former Textile towns (Wakefield, Bradford, Bolton and Manchester) which historically and currently receive a large number of migrants and asylum seekers. Further workshops were held at the Migration Museum London, the Whitworth Gallery, Refugee Week, Sheffield and in a Caritas Safe house for Refugee Women in Calais. The art created now forms a new exhibition exploring the themes Women Moving Forward, Female Refugee and Asylum Seekers, the Textile Industry and Home. Read more here.
Universities of Sanctuary 
There are now 14 Universities of Sanctuary in the UK with many more working towards recognition. In addition, over 70 universities now offer scholarships and other support to improve access to Higher Education for people seeking sanctuary. Now is the time for potential applicants to look at what is available and to consider applying to university. City of Sanctuary works closely with STAR who produce a comprehensive list of scholarships and bursaries which can be found here. For more information email
City of Sanctuary now a UK CIO
City of Sanctuary,
our parent organisation, is now operating as a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) 'City of Sanctuary UK' with the new charity number 1184613. Details on membership will follow.
There are several campaigns campaigns at the moment to help reunite children with their families seeking sanctuary. The most urgent is the Safe Passage campaign to write to MPs to keep the Dubs Amendment and bring vulnerable children stranded in Europe to be with their families in the UK. The Families Together Coalition campaigns to enable children who have found sanctuary in the UK to sponsor their parents to join them. Click here for the campaign toolkit.. There is also this petition to sign and share. 

Please try to keep in touch with City of Sanctuary's partner campaigns (Lift the BanFamilies Together, Detention Forum, Asylum Matters). Please get in touch with your new (or re-elected) MP as soon as possible to build a relationship and promote our message of welcome laid out in The Birmingham Declaration
Directory of Services

Finally, we'd like to remind everyone that the Directory of Services available to refugees and migrants in Brighton and Hove is available online.

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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