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Wales as a Nation of Sanctuary Conference

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Temple of Peace

King Edward VII Avenue


CF10 3AP

United Kingdom

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Our objective is to determine what the criteria might be for Wales to becoming a Nation of Sanctuary, and how, between all the groups and individuals across Wales, we can make that happen. It will also be an occasion for as many as possible of the refugee support groups across Wales, both affiliated City of Sanctuary groups and others, to meet, share experiences, learn from each other and hopefully go away enthused!

If you would like information about this event in Welsh, please contact


10:00 – 10:30 Gathering, Registration, Seating

10:30 – 10:40 Introduction from City of Sanctuary

10:40 – 10:45 Sanctuary Story

10:45 – 11:00 Keynote Speaker: Bethan Jenkins AM

Bethan is Assembly Member for South Wales West and a member of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee. This committee recently published the report on its inquiry into asylum seekers and refugees in Wales, with recommendations including taking steps to make Wales the world’s very first Nation of Sanctuary.

11:00 – 11:15 A View from other Celtic Nations: Mohamed Omar and Andy Pollak

Mohamed is from Somalia and has lived in Scotland for 16 years. He is the Policy and Development Officer (Refugees) at the Mental Health Foundation. Mohamed is also a Project Officer at Interfaith Glasgow’s Weekend Club, an interfaith response to the social isolation faced by many asylum seekers, refugees, and new migrants arriving in Glasgow. In the past, he has worked in high profile roles in the Scottish Government at a significant time in Scottish and UK history. Mohamed is on the Board of Directors at the Scottish Refugee Council.

Andy is chair of City of Sanctuary Dublin. He was the founding director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh, which researches and develops practical cross-border cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Before that he was a journalist in Dublin, Belfast, London and Mexico City. Son of a Czech refugee father and a Northern Irish mother, he is co-author and editor of several books on Northern Ireland.

11:15 – 11:20 Sanctuary Story

11:20 – 12:20 What is a ‘Nation of Sanctuary’?

This interactive session will gather ideas on what needs to happen to make a Nation of Sanctuary possible and who needs to do it.

12:20 – 12:30 Break

12:30 – 13:15 Having Difficult Conversations about Migration Workshop led by HOPE Not Hate

13:15 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 14:45 Break-out session 1 Delegates will be able to choose from a wide range of workshops

14:45 – 14:55 Break

14:55 – 15:40 Break-out session 2 Delegates will be able to choose from a wide range of workshops

15:40 – 16:00 Conclusion from City of Sanctuary

Workshop options:

Community Sponsorship – how it works, the pros and the cons

Vicky Moller will talk through her experience of instigating a Community Sponsorship programme in West Wales. This is an opportunity to get an insight into how it works in practice, and the positive and negative aspects of such an approach.

How to support self-advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees

Andy Pollak from Places of Sanctuary, Ireland and Faruk Ogut from Displaced People in Action, Wales will talk through how to enable people seeking sanctuary to make their voices heard and advocate on the issues that impact most on their lives.

Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (SVPRS) and Community Welcome

This workshop will offer the opportunity to hear from an organisation who are the Integration Provider under a SVPRS contract about how the SVPRS works and how local communities can best support the welcome for those arriving under this scheme.

Schools of Sanctuary

The opportunity to get ideas from schools who are already Schools of Sanctuary about how to make your local school more welcoming and inclusive, wherever they are, however many children seeking sanctuary attend the school.

Sanctuary Breaks

Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees will explain how their Sanctuary Breaks programme welcomes asylum seekers from dispersal areas into the rural beauty of the Brecon Beacons. The workshop will look at how this programme can be introduced in other areas where there are not very many asylum seekers or refugees living.

The City of Sanctuary model – turning pledges into action

Eleri Williams, Development Worker at Swansea City of Sanctuary, will lead a discussion on how to encourage local organisations to take action that turns their commitment to welcome into action with positive impact.

How to effect policy change – engaging your political representatives

A workshop on who controls what and how to encourage them to change policy to support greater welcome and inclusivity for people seeking sanctuary in Wales. Get to know what you can lobby on at a local, Welsh, and UK government level.

Managing donations

The outpouring of generosity towards refugees and asylum seekers in need of food and basic household items has resulted in huge numbers of donations to help those in need. This workshop will look at how to manage that logistically, and balance the needs at home and those in refugee camps abroad.

How Interfaith Activities Can Support Welcome

Mohamed Omar from Glasgow will share his experience of interfaith activities that bring people together and strengthen community welcome. There will be the opportunity to consider how interfaith dialogue in your local area can lead to tangible change for people seeking sanctuary.

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Temple of Peace

King Edward VII Avenue


CF10 3AP

United Kingdom

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