Thanks for a brilliant Wandsworth Sanctuary launch event
We had over 70 people attend our Wandsworth Sanctuary launch event! This is the beginning of support for our local organisations, from libraries and cafes to theatres and schools, to help make Wandsworth a borough of Sanctuary.
Fleur Anderson (@PutneyFleur), Member of Parliament for Putney and a co-founder of WWR, kicked off the event with her excellent chairing. We also heard from Lord Dubs, (@AlfDubs) -- who needs no introduction in Wandsworth -- who spoke about the real need to offer Sanctuary in Wandsworth.
Maggie Filipova-Rivers from City of Sanctuary (@cityofsanctuary) gave us really helpful tips on how we can move forward and access resources. Councillor Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Secretary for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability (@kevinbonavia) told us how Lewisham provide refugees with not only basics like housing but also friendship and fun, which gave us food for thought. And we had great examples from Kim Hackleman of the Belgrade Theatre of Sanctuary (@BelgradeKim) and Julie Mckirdy of Thimblemill Library of Sanctuary of how organisations can welcome and support refugees, which we hope will inspire Wandsworth-based organisations! We also heard from Elly Brown from CARAS (CARAS_LDN) and a young refugee from Congo who bravely told us about her lived experience of coming to the UK. This powerful account reminds us all of why creating Sanctuary is so vital and the difference it can make to individuals. Wandsworth Councillor Kemi Akinola (@BeeKemiA), a leading voice on equality in the Council, told us about the organisation she founded, Be Enriched, which left us all feeling not only inspired but also hungry! She also talked about the situation facing refugees with No Recourse to Public Funds, which touched a nerve with our attendees. Kevin Bonavia shared how Lewisham Council has tackled NRPF. We're currently looking for volunteers to get involved. This would involve contacting establishments (e.g., theatres, cafes, schools, libraries) that have expressed an interest in becoming a sanctuary and supporting them in gaining sanctuary status, being part of the assessment board for awarding the status, promoting the project to other organisations in Wandsworth and researching/contacting existing sanctuaries outside the borough (available on the CoS website) to get ideas and advice for prospective sanctuaries in the borough. If you're interested, please email us here or join our WhatsApp group.