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, the buddy project now designated as The Refugee Buddy Project: Hastings, Rother and Wealden was set up to welcome into the community Syrian families arriving through the Syrian Resettlement Programme. This project has become a thriving and multifaceted source of strong, practical and communal support for those families, and in September 2020, achieved charitable status. 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 from our Campaigns team, currently working on two national campaigns, the Lift the Ban campaign to allow people seeking asylum the right to work, and the campaign to end Indefinite Immigration Detention and bring in a 28-day limit. In Refugee Week in June we hold our ‘Festival by the Lake‘, inaugurated in 2017, and which has rapidly expanded to attendances in 2018 and 2019 of around 1000 people, followed by an online Festival in 2020. The Festival offers a day of celebration of our town as a welcoming place for those seeking sanctuary with us.
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.
New Report By Asylum Matters Reveals Poverty, Exclusion And Hardship
Asylum Matters has published a new report - ‘Locked Into Poverty: Life on Asylum Support’ - which reveals a picture of poverty, exclusion and hardship for people seeking asylum who are wholly reliant on Government support payments.
A Light of Hope Across the Channel
The Lighthouse Project - Volunteers Wanted!
Lift the Ban: Petition to Parliament 170,000 and counting!
Interview with Jay Kramer
A Weekend of Action, Hastings-Style
10th-11th October 2020
The Refugee Buddy Project, March-October 2020
The Refugee Buddy Project: Hastings, Rother & Wealden
Memories of our summer Festival by the Lake – Online
Held on Sunday 21 June 2020, on Isolation Station Hastings
#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…