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Wandsworth to become Sanctuary for Refugees

Published: 30/07/2022 By Allan Fuller

Wandsworth Council has confirmed it is committed to becoming a Borough of Sanctuary for people fleeing persecution. 

The Borough of Sanctuary movement is part of a national initiative to create a network of towns and cities throughout the UK that are proud to be places of safety and inclusion for people seeking sanctuary. At a full meetingof the council on Wednesday night, councillors voted to support becoming a Borough of Sanctuary.

The council will now work in close partnership with local charities, voluntary organisations and civic society groups to improve the way Wandsworth supports refugees. Dedicated members of staff will be appointed to support this work.

Deputy council leader Cllr Kemi Akinola said: “Wandsworth has a long and notable history of welcoming refugees, with countless numbers have finding a home in the borough, including people escaping war and conflict in Syria and Afghanistan.
“And of course, over recent weeks we have seen more than 400 Wandsworth residents opening their homes to those seeking refuge from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, enabling the resettlement of 850 Ukrainian refugees in the borough.
“We want to build on this, and we will now start work with partners across our community to produce an action plan which will lead to Wandsworth being formally recognised as a Borough of Sanctuary for all refugees. 

“To ensure we have sufficient resources to support refugee resettlement, we are creating a Refugee Resettlement Team of two full-time members of staff who will be dedicated one hundred per cent to supporting this important area of work. We are also increasing our capacity in our Homelessness Team and stand ready to make sure sufficient resources are available to meet our obligations.

“This is a proud day for Wandsworth and a landmark achievement for Wandsworth Council.”