On Monday the 28th of June at full council meeting, Shrewsbury Town Council voted unanimously to embed the City of Sanctuary vision and principles in council policies and practices.
A motion calling on the town council to sign up to the scheme was put forward by Councillor Kate Halliday, who said the status would recognise the work already being done in Shrewsbury to support people who had settled there.
The Motion stated:
‘This council is committed to support an initiative to make Shrewsbury into a recognised ‘Town of Sanctuary’ welcoming those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries. We recognise their potential contribution to our town, and also recognise that a comprehensive, co-ordinated and forward-looking approach is needed if the welfare of people moving into the town, and community cohesion between new and existing communities, are to be supported effectively. To this end, we:
- Acknowledge the contribution of refugees and people seeking sanctuary to the town of Shrewsbury
- Are willing to add our organisation’s name to the list of supporters of City of Sanctuary
- This council will work to implement the City of Sanctuary pledges through its actions and policies, and with its partners in the statutory and voluntary sectors.
- This council is committed to support an initiative to make Shrewsbury into a recognised ‘Town of Sanctuary’
- We call on Shropshire Council to apply for ‘City of Sanctuary’ Status’
The resolution followed a presentation to councillors by Amanda Jones and Robert Douglas from Shropshire Supports Refugees, the local City of Sanctuary Group. Mr Douglas said: “City of Sanctuary UK is a movement that has the vision that the UK will become a welcoming place of safety for all and is proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.
Kate Halliday, the proposer of the motion said ‘I am delighted that Shrewsbury Town Council voted unanimously to support the motion to work towards City of Sanctuary status. This will strengthen the good work of Shropshire Council together with the organisation ‘Shropshire Supports Refugees’ in welcoming and supporting people fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries, and acknowledging the contribution refugees can make to our communities’
The commitment means the town council will develop a ‘Town of Sanctuary’ strategy and ensure the needs of refugees and asylum seekers are taken into account in its policies and working practices. A working group to take forward the vision has since been set up.
Shrewsbury is the first Town Council to join the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network and is sure to lead the way for many other Town and Parish councils around the country committed to creating strong, resilient and cohesive communities where everyone feels welcome and able to reach their full potential.
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