A ‘Community of Sanctuary’
caring, shelter and sanctuary for all who live in our place
In 2017, we joined the nationwide movement ‘City of Sanctuary’, which seeks to build a strong network across the land to nurture a narrative of kindness, support and hospitality towards those seeking refuge and towards all our fellow citizens.
Hastings Supports Refugees has been sending help to thousands of people seeking refuge in France and Greece since 2015, and is both impetus for and foundation of our becoming a City of Sanctuary, standing behind our ongoing schemes to expand awareness, and support where it is needed, both at home in our town and abroad. You can like the Hastings Supports Refugees Facebook Group to keep up to date with events and activities across Hastings Community of Sanctuary.
We have been building upon existing initiatives, including the Links project which has for many years been helping refugees and those applying for asylum in our town, and developing new ones. In Summer 2017, Hastings & Rother Refugee and Asylum Seekers’ Buddy Project was set up to welcome into the community Syrian families arriving through the Syrian Resettlement Programme; since then, this project has become a thriving and multifaceted source of strong, practical and communal support for those families, including the OPEN café which opened in June 2019. From Autumn 2017 until Summer 2018, we ran Hastings Debates, a series of public talks about ways in which we can understand people’s need for refuge, and the policies being enacted, with international speakers including war correspondents, authors, artists, film makers. We have maintained since then a constant presence in our local media with comment and reportage on many topics around the issues involved and on what we are doing on the ground to tackle these; this includes keeping active contact with our Parliamentary representative, and active campaigning at local and national level. In Refugee Week in June we hold our ‘Festival by the Lake’, which had its first appearance in 2017, and which rapidly expanded to attendances in 2018 and 2019 of around 1000 people. The Festival offers a day of celebration of our town as a welcoming place for those seeking sanctuary with us. You can keep up to date with the event on the dedicated Facebook Event Page.
For all refugees who arrive here we are committed to making ours a place where they may thrive and build relationships with the local communities.
We welcome expressions of support and interest in contributing to this work.
You can join us here.
#LiftTheBan: Compelling Arguments From The House Of Lords
On September 9th, the House of Lords debated various amendments to the Immigration Bill, including one that would allow people seeking asylum the right to work. The Bill will enter the Committee stage on September 14th, when further amendments will…
Interview With Safwa Chowdhury (Artist And HCoS Campaigner)
Safwa Chowdhury, a local artist who works with Hastings Community of Sanctuary, did a live interview with Zebee (a London-based international community platform) on Instagram. She discussed her Instagram art campaign which aims to raise awareness about indefinite immigration detention.…
#LiftTheBan: A Poem By The Right To Work Group
Some people who are currently seeking asylum in the UK and who have been banned from working have written this powerful, moving poem about what work means to them, entitled 'What Work Means To Us'. You can watch a video…
#LiftTheBan: Interview With A Health Worker Who Is Seeking Asylum
ITV News interviewed an Afghan health worker who is seeking asylum in the UK and is being denied the right to work. She is desperate to use her skills to help people during the Covid pandemic, but the government is…
#LiftTheBan: Testimonies Of People Seeking Asylum
This short video features the testimonies of people seeking asylum in the UK who have been prevented from working. They are desperate to contribute to this country and also to have dignity in their lives, which is an indication of…
#LiftTheBan: Why Giving People Seeking Asylum The Right To Work Is Common Sense
The Lift the Ban coalition has released a brilliant new report on why people seeking asylum in the UK should be given the right to work. This report includes:
A Story of Indefinite Detention
Our friend John Baptist, who was granted asylum in 2015, shares his experience in immigration detention, and describes how life in detention became the worst experience of his life. He shares his story in the hope that it will help…
Locked Up In Lockdown: Talking About Immigration Detention
Irfan and Safwa Chowdhury, from our Campaigns team, talk about the practice of locking people up in indefinite immigration detention, and ways to raise awareness of what this means.
What is a refugee, challenging preconceptions – a roundtable discussion, 15th June 2020
"Why Should We Care About..." HCoS Co-Chair Jane Grimshaw and expert by experience Oscar Serrano join panel in Refugee Week.
A Story about Calais, June 2020
Brian Bostock writes about humanity and solidarity in a meeting with people across the sea who are hoping to find Sanctuary with us here.
OPEN LETTER TO HOME SECRETARY ON ASYLUM SUPPORT RATES, June 2020
Read the letter signed by organisations from all over the UK, including Hastings Community of Sanctuary, in response to announcement of just £1.85 weekly increase for people seeking asylum.