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.
On the Home Office filling Napier barracks again: reflections from a former resident
Our friend Erfan endured many bleak and difficult months in Napier Barracks before finally being relocated to a place where he has at last a chance of living a dignified life, albeit a very simple one as a person awaiting…
Statement on Home Office Resumption of Napier Barracks Accommodation for People seeking Asylum
On Friday 9th April, barely one week after the final resident of the 400 held since September in Napier Barracks was moved out of the barracks, the Home Office brought into the camp the first of a new cohort of…
Hastings Community of Sanctuary in the Media; meetings, events, letters to Hastings Observer and the Guardian; and the Home Office consultation.
A snapshot of the first 3 months of 2021.
A Letter to the People of the UK
Speaking from the Heart about Napier Barracks
A Letter to the Home Office Government Information Service and the HO Director of Communications
A letter to the Home Office Government Information Service and the HO Director of Communications, from a concerned citizen of Hastings.
Beautiful memories from our Festival by the Lake to sustain us in darker times
In dark and difficult times, and as we find ourselves challenging increasingly difficult hurdles to bring about safe and kind sanctuary for those people who seek it, HCoS Co-Chair Polly Gifford has created this message of light and hope. Memories…
What The Telegraph and The Times Have (and Haven’t) Been Saying
Reporting on the barracks asylum accommodation: a review of The Times and The Telegraph in recent months.
Lift the Ban in Hastings, Westminster, and beyond; November 2020 Update
A Parliamentary Debate, a new Campaign Animation, and Hastings Lift the Ban in the local press
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!