How long have you been a City of Sanctuary Trustee? What role do you hold within the Trustees?
Lancaster and Morecambe City of Sanctuary has been a registered charity since December 2018. Before that I was a member of the Steering Group. So, in all, I have been in both groups for 5 years. I was Chair of the Steering Group and am now Chair of the City of Sanctuary Trustees. I wasn’t on the first Steering Group which was set up when the very first Asylum Seekers arrived in Lancaster in November 2015. I joined early in 2017 and became Chair in the Autumn of that year.
How does the work you do support the running of City of Sanctuary?
I see my role, and that of the Trustees as a body, as one which oversees and hopefully holds together the work done by very many groups and individuals for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in our city. In particular, I have done several bids for financial support from various funds, I submit annual reports to the Charity Commission, I maintain contact with our supporters via an extensive email list. I try to let all our groups and supporters know what is going on in the City of Sanctuary, offering support and, where appropriate, advice.
What do you enjoy most about being a CoS Trustee?
I enjoy meeting wonderful people from our community whether local or from many other countries. The work done by our volunteers is truly inspirational as is the courage and resilience of our Asylum Seekers and Refugees.
How does the work you do offer essential support for the asylum seeker and refugee community?
The direct work done by City of Sanctuary is the ESOL programme and the provision of emergency grants and Welcome Packs for new arrivals. The emergency grants may be given to Asylum Seekers when granted leave to remain but before they achieve either a job or universal credit. We also pay for essential travel for legal or medical appointments.
Is there anything else you can tell us about yourself and your work with CoS?
It has been an honour to work for City of Sanctuary and I hope to continue to offer my support for some time to come !