Local Councils took part in Refugee Week 2022 in a range of ways, including hosting, supporting and promoting local events, encouraging residents to take part and sharing the work being done to welcome refugees locally.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
Shared a video message of support on Twitter, saying London welcomed and embraced refugees and reflecting on the theme of Healing: “London will support you and help you heal. And in time, I’ve no doubt that you’ll and strengthen London too.”
Marked Refugee Week by announcing plans to become a borough of sanctuary, supporting events and sharing stories of local people seeking sanctuary. Councillor Jim Dickson said: “Refugee Week is an important opportunity for us to celebrate community, mutual care, and the human ability to start again. We are committed to working with our partners to offer a warm welcome, hospitality and to create opportunities for friendship and solidarity between local people and those seeking sanctuary. We can all work together to celebrate and promote the welcome contribution of people seeking sanctuary.”
Lancashire County Council
Ran a grant scheme for local Refugee Week events responding to the theme of ‘Healing’.
Brighton & Hove City Council
Supported the Brighton & Hove Refugee Week programme of events. Councillor Steph Powell said: “Refugee Week is a chance to recognise and celebrate the resilience, determination and skills brought to the city by those arriving here after long dangerous journeys. We are proud of our long history of solidarity and welcome for refugees in Brighton & Hove.”
Supported the Wakefield Refugee Week programme of events. Councillor Maureen Cummings said: “We have a strong history in our district of welcoming refugees, and we are proud to be able to provide a safe haven, often at the most vulnerable time of people’s lives. We recognise the value they can bring to our local communities, and these events are not just to support and celebrate our refugees as they settle into a new life here but also for everyone to come together and get to know each other.”
Sunderland City Council
Supported the Sunderland Refugee Week programme of events. Sunderland City Council Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Paul Stewart, said: “Sunderland has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers and of communities living and working together. I’m really proud to be supporting Refugee Week which is all about raising awareness of the life and death decisions facing those escaping war and persecution, and helping us to better appreciate the cultural and social contribution that they make to the world.”
Hull City Council
Supported the Hull Refugee Week programme of events.
St Helen’s Council
Supported the St Helen’s Refugee Week programme of events.
Birmingham City Council
Supported the Birmingham Refugee Week programme of events.
Hosted a community event, ‘Refugee Week 2022: Healing through Connection’.
Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Northern Ireland
Held an information and welcome event. Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor, Ivor Wallace, said: “In recognising the difficulties faced in trying to settle into a new country, it is hoped that by providing a one stop information event, we can assist by making the process easier to allow the healing process to begin.”
Coventry City Council
Supported a Great Walk Together event. Councillor David Welsh, said: “Refugee Week is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the plight of those forcibly displaced from their homes, and celebrate their incredible contributions not just to Coventry but to the UK”.
Held a talk about Belgian Refugees of WW1.
Cambridge City Council
Held ‘Voices of Hope and Healing’, an event to mark Refugee Week and Holocaust Memorial Day.
Bedford Borough Council
Promoted the Bedford Refugee Week programme of events. Councillor Doug McMurdo said: “Refugee Week is an important time to celebrate the courage of refugees across the world who have been forced from their homes and countries to escape conflict.
West Northamptonshire Council
Promoted the West Northamptonshire programme of events. Cllr David Smith, WNC Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement and regulatory Services, said: “West Northants is an incredibly welcoming place and we’re always astounded by people’s community spirit and their willingness to help others – something which has been particularly evident during the recent Afghan and Ukrainian resettlement Programmes. Refugee Week provides an opportunity for us all to reflect upon the courage of refugees across the world who have been forced from their homes and countries to escape conflict, and to extend the hand of friendship to anyone in need.
Warwickshire County Council
Promoted Refugee Week and encouraged people to take part in Simple Acts. Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council said: “Refugee Day 2022 has provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the contribution Warwickshire had made to support refugees and the difference this has made to people’s lives. The fact that the whole county has come together over the years to provide a safe place for these families to begin to heal and rebuild lives shattered by conflict is a testament to what a fantastic place Warwickshire is to live.”
Promoted a local Refugee Week event. The Deputy Mayor for Solihull, Councllor Joe Tildesley, who welcomed people to the event said: “Recently, we have welcomed people from Afghanistan and Ukraine. Building a safe and supportive environment for all those who come to our borough as refugees is incredibly important.”
Promoted the Plymouth Refugee Week programme of events.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council
Promoted the Hammersmith and Fulham Refugee Week programme of events. Councillor Rebecca Harvey said: “Refugee Week is a fantastic way to highlight how much Asylum Seekers and Refugees contribute to our daily lives, and to thank and recognise them for their impact.”
Hastings Borough Council
Promoted the Hastings Refugee Week programme of events. Councillor Andy Batsford, said: “It is great to see so many excellent events happening at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, that really engage with the community and raise awareness of the difficulties faced by so many across the world. As a City of Sanctuary, we are proud to be such a welcoming place, building strong connections with those seeking refuge and those who have settled in Hastings, and now call it home. Refugee Week and the Sanctuary Festival really highlight the fantastic work carried out by so many across the town, who help to ensure that everyone is welcomed and included in our communities.”
Wokingham Borough Council
Reflected on local welcome in local newspaper Bracknell News. Councillor Rachel Bishop-Firth, said: “All refugees have experienced incredible hardship and loss. Many have come to Wokingham Borough with nothing – but they and their children have gone on to make a huge contribution to life here. This Refugee Week, we want to recognise the contributions of these individuals and also the hard work and generosity of all those who are welcoming new refugees into the Borough.”
Shared a message from Councillor Kevin Bentley about the work being done to welcome people to Essex and ensure they are settled in the county.
Worcestershire County Council
Shared a testimony from a Council support worker who came to the UK through a resettlement programme.
Oxford City Council
Oxford City Council shared a personal account of one woman’s journey of refuge, five years on.
Marlow Town Council
Promoted a new language support service for Ukrainian refugees in Buckinghamshire communities.
Do you work for a Council that took part in Refugee Week, or is interested doing more to welcome refugees? City of Sanctuary’s Local Authority Network, a movement of local councils who are working to create a culture of welcome, inclusion and empowerment for people seeking sanctuary. Visit the City of Sanctuary website to find out more.