York became a City of Sanctuary after passing scrutiny on October 1st 2016.It joined a number of other cities in the UK which already have that status. We continue to depend on local people and community groups working and pledging to keep York a place of welcome, safety, and security for all who need to claim sanctuary here.

The City of Sanctuary Movement

City of Sanctuary is a movement to build a culture of hospitality for people seeking sanctuary in the UK. Many towns and cities are seeking recognition as places of safety and welcome. Sheffield, York, Bradford, Coventry, Bristol, and Swansea are amongst those places which already have that status

The movement is intended to be from the ground upwards, not something imposed by Government or Local Authority. Therefore, support from individuals, local community groups, schools, universities, sporting organizations, voluntary and statutory bodies is not only welcome but one of the essential criteria to be placed before the national body of award makers.

We have gathered pledges of support from more than 70 organisations and groups drawn from many different sectors of local society. Recognition from the national organizers of City of Sanctuary came in October 2016, and City of York Council officially received that status at an award ceremony in December 2016. In 2018, York St. John University fulfilled the criteria to become a University of Sanctuary.

Why a City of Sanctuary in York?

We celebrate the contribution of many people from across the world who bring their skills, cultures, and experiences to enrich our city’s culture. Some have come here to escape danger or threats to their lives. They offer their work to assist the building of our local economy.

Many who make the journey here feel isolated and fearful on their arrival in York. We seek to spread the culture of hospitality and support throughout the whole of the city, so that welcome and support can more easily be found.

York: A Long History of Providing Sanctuary

In the late 1930s the York Refugee Committee found work, housing, and school places for Jewish families fleeing persecution in Europe.

In the 1970s and 1980s, some of the Asian families expelled from Kenya and Uganda found refuge in York. Many now play a significant part in local business and commerce. In the 1990s, York provided accommodation for refugees from the atrocities unfolding in Bosnia and the surrounding Balkan States.

Vision Statement

Our vision is of York as a nationally recognized place of physical safety and security, in which people are free to live without fear of hostility, persecution, hatred, oppression or exclusion.

Many of those seeking sanctuary are refugees and asylum seekers. However, these are not the only people seeking to find protection and safety within the city. The vision is inclusive of all who need to claim sanctuary. We celebrate the contribution of people seeking sanctuary. We affirm the positive values of hospitality and friendship by welcoming, supporting and assisting them wherever they go.

Our vision is of York as part of a movement now spreading across the cities of the UK.

Resolution of Support

1/We ……………………………………………………… (Name of organisation where applicable)
recognize the contribution of refugees and all who seek sanctuary to the City of York.

I/We resolve to welcome and include them in my/our activities.

I/We support York’s recognized status as a City of Sanctuary.

Optional: The specific actions* which I/ our organisation will take to make my/our activities more inclusive for those seeking sanctuary:

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Signed……………………………… ………………………………………………….Date……………………

(Position within Organisation)…………………………………………………………………………….

email address…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Postal address……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Tel: ……………………………………………………………………………………

Return to: Quaker Meeting House, Friargate, York YO1 9RL

Email:    [email protected]

To volunteer, offer donations, resources and skills; [email protected],org.uk

Sign up online: see our Website: www.york.cityofsanctuary.org.uk

See our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/yorkcityofsanctuary