Our plans to become a Borough of Sanctuary
As part of our Corporate Strategy commitment to be an open and welcoming borough, we are pleased to be part of the Lewisham Migration Forum, which is comprised of local organisations that provides services and other support to migrants.
What is a Borough of Sanctuary?
The Lewisham Migration Forum is co-ordinating the collective effort for Lewisham to become a Borough of Sanctuary, welcoming those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries and protecting the rights of all migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees. Our aim is to get individuals and businesses in the borough to join us in enacting the principles of the Cities of Sanctuary movement. These are to:
- offer a positive vision of a culture of welcome and hospitality to all
- create opportunities for relationships of friendship and solidarity between local people and those seeking sanctuary
- recognise and encourage partnership working and network development across localities
- identify opportunities for practical action and work on common cause issues to effect change within and across communities (turning empathy into action)
- celebrate and promote the welcome contribution of people seeking sanctuary
- engage people seeking sanctuary in decision making processes at all levels and in all activities
- promote understanding of asylum and refugee issues, especially by enabling refugee voices to be heard directly.
How we will become a Borough of Sanctuary
The first task is to encourage as many individuals and organisations as possible to join us in confirming their commitment and pledging to making Lewisham a Borough of Sanctuary. Our commitment is enshrined in our Borough of Sanctuary Strategy, which is at the bottom of this page.
We are already working to enact the principles of sanctuary:
- We have a policy of resettling vulnerable refugee families from Syria and other areas of conflict and we plan to welcome an additional 100 families by 2022.
- We are committed to providing care to unaccompanied child asylum seekers and have signed up to the Safe Passage’s pledge to accept an additional 100 children over the next 10 years.
- We are offering advice and support to people who have come from abroad to live in the borough, including:
Borough of Sanctuary Strategy
Our Borough of Sanctuary Strategy was approved by Mayor and Cabinet on 11 November 2020.