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City of Sanctuary A welcoming environment

City of Sanctuary Sheffield continues to rise to the challenges brought on by the pandemic as it announces its new co-chair, former Lord Mayor Magid Magid.

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Although there are many people who look to welcome newcomers and make Sheffield a safe place for those seeking sanctuary, the UK’s 'hostile environment' policy means many of our laws are specifically designed to make life difficult for refugees and asylum seekers.

For years before the pandemic, refugees and asylum seekers have had to deal with enforced poverty, poor housing, a culture of disbelief and crippling digital exclusion. These inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic and have meant that this community has been hit particularly hard.

But the community remains resilient and City of Sanctuary Sheffield has been running The Virtual Sanctuary to include, connect and support people during the crisis. Their team of staff and volunteers, many of whom are sanctuary seekers themselves, have delivered laptops, provided food and clothes, offered befriending services and stood alongside those seeking sanctuary through whatever they are dealing with.

Tom Martin, Director of City of Sanctuary Sheffield, said, “In the wake of the pandemic, as the government prepares to bring in wide-ranging immigration reforms, City of Sanctuary are committed to continuing to fight for a fair and humane immigration system where people's humanity is respected and their dignity upheld.”

The independent charity recently announced that former Lord Mayor of Sheffield and MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, Magid Magid, is the new co-chair of their board of trustees.

Magid came to Sheffield with his mother and siblings as refugees from Somalia. Since the end of his tenure as MEP due to Brexit, he has written and released his first book, The Art of Disruption: A Manifesto For Real Change, and currently heads up a new pan-European organisation dedicated to racial justice and climate justice.

Magid said, “I’m truly honoured to be taking on this role at such a crucial time."

City of Sanctuary Sheffield is an exceptional charity that plays an integral role in supporting all those that are seeking refuge. We have a great team and an excellent vision, and I look forward to playing my part to continue to make Sheffield the warm and welcoming place it is.”

To support City of Sanctuary Sheffield’s vital work, you can donate and sign up to their newsletter.

by Felicity Jackson (she/her)
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