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Cheshire West and Chester Council Pass a unanimous Sanctuary Motion

CHESHIRE West and Chester councillors have unanimously backed plans to become a ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ and Join the City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network

Proposed by Councillor Richard Beacham, and seconded by Councillor Paul Roberts“This council understands the important role it can play in welcoming people who are fleeing violence and persecution by offering them safety and sanctuary.

This Council notes that: 

  • Cheshire West and Chester Council celebrates diversity through its support for activities and events in the community, and through accreditations that recognise our organisation as welcoming of all people, regardless of their background.
  • The Council recognises the contribution that refugees, migrants and those seeking sanctuary have made to urban and rural areas in our Borough throughout recent history.
  • Through working with partners in the voluntary and charity sector, other public sector organisations and our commissioned service provided by Forfutures, we are committed to welcoming refugees and asylum seekers that have been placed in our Borough as part of government resettlement programmes.
  • The Council’s support for Refugee Week 2021 provided an opportunity for the stories of refugees to be publicly shared and celebrated, including the contribution of refugees and migrants in Cheshire West and Chester.
  • The work of Chester’s ‘City of Sanctuary’ Group has been fundamental in bringing together local charities, residents, the Cathedral and commissioned services to progress the work of becoming a Borough of Sanctuary.
  • The Council is committed to supporting refugee and migrant communities who have fled violence and persecution and been offered safety and sanctuary in our Borough, as part of this work it supports the initiative to make Cheshire West and Chester a recognised ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ as part of the ‘City of Sanctuary’ initiative.

This informal meeting of Council supports:

  • Joining the ‘Local Authority Network’ of cities and towns which promote the inclusion
    and welfare of people who are fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries and
    become a recognised ‘Borough of Sanctuary’
  •  Working with commissioned services, community groups and charities to help and support refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Cheshire West and Chester, including by harnessing public support when necessary.
  • Continuing to celebrate the contribution of refugee and migrant communities through
    annual events like Refugee Week.
  • Including information of refugee and asylum seekers in our Equality & Diversity Training for new and existing staff.
  • Challenging anti-refugee and anti-migrant attitudes wherever they are found.
  • Reporting on progress for achieving the ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ status as part of the Council’s annual reporting and monitoring.
  • Writing to the Home Secretary to share information on the impact of the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ condition on people who contact our Council services, particularly where it blocks people from being able to participate in society for years while they wait for their status to be resolved.”