Brighton & Hove, City of Sanctuary

Brighton & Hove is one of a large network of UK Cities of Sanctuary. City of Sanctuary is a movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution.

The local City of Sanctuary group is called Sanctuary on Sea. Keep in touch with the latest developments, events and campaigns on the Sanctuary on Sea Facebook page and by following @BrightonSanct on Twitter.

Sanctuary on Sea have also worked with the council to produce a directory of local services for refugees and migrants. This contains details of local organisations that can help refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in the area and also local organisations working to help refugees overseas.

The My Life directory lists services and organisations in Brighton & Hove offering support to migrants, asylum seekers and refugee.

Libraries of Sanctuary

The ‘Libraries of Sanctuary’ initiative has been set up to recognise the good practice of libraries which welcome people seeking sanctuary and other new arrivals into their community and seek to foster a culture of welcome and inclusivity.

It’s overseen by City of Sanctuary UK, who support a nationwide network to build a culture of welcome for people seeking sanctuary and promote understanding, recognition and celebration of the ways in which people seeking sanctuary enrich society. Read more about Libraries of Sanctuary.

The review panel was unanimous in concluding that our library service fully met the conditions for the sanctuary award.

The work at Jubilee Library features in City of Sanctuary’s new resource pack for Libraries of Sanctuary and will be shared with other library services across the country.

A warm welcome

Working towards becoming Library of Sanctuary, all library staff completed Refugee, Asylum Seekers and Migrant Awareness training, to ensure sanctuary seekers feel welcome in our libraries and staff have a greater understanding of their needs.

Jubilee Library greets visitors with a ‘Welcome Window’ in different languages in the entrance of the building.

The collection of books about and by sanctuary seekers has been expanded for all to enjoy, alongside new services such as the conversation café for women wanting to improve their English.

The Network of International Women have also made a wonderful Library of Sanctuary banner for the library. 

Women from the group also volunteer to deliver multi-lingual story times and put together displays and supporting material. An arrangement that has proved invaluable to both them and the library service.

There has also been a significant cultural exchange with staff and volunteers through the volunteer scheme with volunteers bringing in traditional dishes from Iraq, Yemen, Morocco and Egypt to share with staff.

The library team work in close partnership with organisations in the city supporting sanctuary seekers and staff have donated toiletries for new arrivals in the city.