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Your Monthly Update - 

Dear <<First Name>>, 

It has been a very busy month for both Sanctuary on Sea and the national Sanctuary network, and we have a lot to catch you up on. Together With Refugees Week of Action is coming up, and there are some fantastic events being organised to protest the ‘Anti-Refugee Bill’. Please come to Brighton Beach on 17 October at 2pm to 'show your heart' and express opposition to the bill.

Locally, some Chevening Scholars, have arrived but many are still in bridging hotels and we need more properties. The national City of Sanctuary movement AGM was held last month. With different panels, networking opportunities and a new strategy produced, this was a great success.

As always, we welcome you to share any news, events or resources relating to refugees and asylum seekers happening in the city. If you want these to be promoted in our website’s directory of local resources or included in our monthly newsletter, drop us a line at info@brightonandhove.cityofsanctuary.org 


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Together with Refugees Week of Action



Join Sanctuary on Sea and the University of Sussex's Student Action for Refugees group on Brighton Beach on 17 October at 2pm by the i360 and 'show your heart' in opposition to the bill. Come wearing something orange- we will be forming an orange heart (the symbol of the Together With Refugees campaign)  to challenge the biggest attack on refugee rights in 70 years and show that we welcome those arriving to our shores.

18 to 24 October is Together With Refugees' Week of Action. As the 'Anti-Refugee Bill' progresses to the next stage, this is a call to mobilise
 local and national opposition in whatever way we can. Together With Refugees are asking local organisations to hold 'Show Your Heart' events in support of asylum seekers' and refugee's rights, and for individuals to use the return of parliament and week of action to write to their MP and raise their concerns about the Bill. They have produced a campaign pack giving further details on this. 

In collaboration with groups such as Women for Refugee Women, Together With Refugees are also organising a protest in Parliament Square on 20 October from 4:30 to 6:30 to protest the 'Anti-Refugee Bill'. This will demonstrate the widespread horror at its inhumane proposals, and reaffirm our community's welcome towards those seeking sanctuary.

Local Updates 

There have been some positive developments for Afghans coming to rebuild their lives in our city. The University of Sussex and its Sanctuary group have done a fantastic job of welcoming the Chevening Scholars who have arrived on campus, and supporting those still in hotels. One Scholar and their family are now preparing to move in to their house. The Council's resettlement team is coordinating volunteers to welcome all Afghan refugees to the City. However, many more homes are needed for Afghan refugees who are still in temporary, inadequate accommodation around the country. Sanctuary on Sea is especially looking for affordable self-contained properties, ideally with at least three bedrooms. If you may have anything suitable, please get in touch

Sanctuary on Sea attended a meeting held between Brighton and Hove City Council and the local refugee support sector to better understand and address the needs of all Afghans to be resettled here. Whilst this meeting focused on the Chevening Scholars, there were also broader discussions on the need to secure more housing for Afghan refugees.

Unaccompanied young asylum seekers are still being housed in the hostel in Hove. Whilst we are pleased that the council has a member of staff supporting the young people, and linking them to support groups such as Brighton and Hove Tennis Table Club, questions remain over how long the Home Office will continue to house young people in hotels in this way, and their access to legal advice, freedom and wider contact is still limited. Councillor Hannah Clare has stated that the Home Office "dumped a load of kids in there with no Covid risk assessment and no safeguarding". We are still concerned about these children, and are looking for ways to support them. The Home Office has recently allowed the Refugee Council in to support the young people. Amber Daly is their hotel co-ordinator in Hove and welcomes questions or offers of assistance. 

The Home Office opened another hotel, again without consulting the Council, this time to house adult asylum seekers, who have few possessions other than the clothes they wore when entering the country. Care4Calais, Thousand4£1000 and others have secured an incredible £7000 towards helping these men rebuild their lives, but now face the challenge of distributing this support. 


Alex Ntung helped us set up the Schools of Sanctuary Programme, and his sister was recently tragically killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We contacted Brighton MP Caroline Lucas following this.  In response to her parliamentary question about the incident, the Foreign, Commonwealth and International Development Office wrote that the UK was "deeply concerned about violence and instability in the DRC...we continue to urge the DRC government and the UN to work together to better protect civilians".

Radio Calais aired an interview on 28 September with two Brighton activists working for Channel Rescue to help those risking their lives seeking safety. One activist described how whilst volunteering in the English Channel she had seen a Border Force vessel "aggressively circling a dinghy" holding asylum seekers as an intimidation tactic. The episode also gave an analysis of the Nationality and Borders Bill, or more aptly named the 'Anti-Refugee Bill'.

On 26 September, a demonstration was held to protest against the TUI deportation flights which violently remove those seeking sanctuary in the UK. The protesters walked through the city and handed out leaflets to spread awareness of the flights. 


                                  
 

We are delighted that Brighton author Abdulrazak Gurnah has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. He sought refuge in the UK from the violent Zanzibar revolution in the 1960s, but has described the UK government as "rather nasty" about asylum, saying it should rethink its approach to migration "with greater compassion rather than with barbed wire".

Lastly, on 9 October, the Jubilee Library, our local library of sanctuary, hosted an International Music Afternoon organised by Bestfoot Music. Refugee and migrant musicians played to a full house, including the Sudanese poet, songwriter and composer Bashir Al Gamar

National updates from City of Sanctuary UK
 
On 22 and 23 September, City of Sanctuary UK held its annual conference. This was a chance for different local networks to share their experiences, learn from each other and reconnect after an isolating year. During the event, a new strategy for 2022-2025 was produced, networking opportunities provided, and panels discussed topics such as what success may look like, and how best to campaign against the 'Anti Refugee Bill'. You can read the full conference report online.

Lancaster and Morecambe City of Sanctuary recently took 25 asylum seekers and refugees to the RSPB conservation area in Leighton Moss. This was a great chance to develop a rapport with another organisation, and a fun day out for all involved.

We wish to congratulate Lewisham Borough Council for becoming the first Council of Sanctuary, in recognition of the welcome they offer to asylum seekers and refugees. Brighton & Hove is in the process of being reaccredited and we will be helping them develop a City of Sanctuary Plan. We would welcome your views on what should be included!
Actions you can take to help refugees and asylum seekers locally

Under the Chevening Scheme, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, five of the talented Afghans welcomed to the University of Sussex have commenced their studies. The university’s  crowdfunding scheme has already raised over £45,000 to support these students, and would welcome any donations if you can spare a little.

The Environmental Justice Foundation are circulating a petition calling for climate refugees to be given international legal status as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention, and are inviting you to sign and share this campaign. 


 

Upcoming Events

The City of Sanctuary UK's Local Authority network is holding a special event on 'the Afghan crisis in the context of a broken system'. This is a unique opportunity for local authorities to exchange ideas for how best to respond. Lucy Bryson will share the experience of Brighton & Hove City Council. 

South Downs Refugee Project is hosting a Saturday Morning Children's Singing Club at the United Reformed Church in Hassocks on 20 November at 10am. All proceeds will support the invaluable work of SDRP in resettling refugees into their community, enriching the lives of all involved.

SDRP are also organising a Christmas Ceilidh (Scottish dance!) on Friday November 26, including a bar and raffle. They will announce ticket details soon.

Lastly, it is currently Black History Month and there are lots of events being held in Brighton and Hove to celebrate the continued achievements of Black people both in our city and globally. The Jubilee Library is hosting an exhibition called 'Still Breathing: 100 Black voices on racism- 100 ways to change the narrative' all month, and has curated a special selection of books to borrow. On 21 November, there is the Black History Family Day at Brighton Dome, celebrating multicultural arts and heritage. Nationally, Black History Month is launching its 'Proud to Be' campaign, inviting Black people to share what they are proud to be. 

Resources to Read
Doctors of the World have produced a handy leaflet on how to book a COVID-19 vaccine, which explains clearly a topic which many find confusing. They have also written a report on the impact of COVID-19 on physical and mental wellbeing, which is especially applicable to refugees and asylum-seekers, who have been rendered more vulnerable to the social impacts of the pandemic.

Families Together have written a comprehensive briefing on the prospects and challenges for family reunification in the UK.

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit have published a briefing on the content and potential impact of the Nationality and Borders Bill. Whilst produced for North West MPs, this is a useful read in advance of the Week of Action against the bill. 
Directory of Services

Finally, we'd like to remind everyone that the Directory of Services for 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.


Best wishes,

Evangeline Knapman
Volunteer
Sanctuary on Sea 
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