Following an initial meeting on 5th October 2009 at the Open Doors drop in at Princes Avenue Methodist Church in Hull, addressed by Craig Barnett, a steering group was formed, and continues to meet monthly. On 14th January 2010 we welcomed Rev Inderjit Bhogal, who explained the origins of the movement, and encouraged the group in its work.
Hull has a proud tradition in standing up for right, through William Wilberforce, its MP and hero of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. A recent research study of the health and social needs of asylum seekers and refugees in Hull (“After Wilberforce”, commissionned by Hull PCT and LSP)(attached) highlighted significant numbers of destitute asylum seekers, and others in sub-standard housing; hostile public attitudes; difficulties in accessing health services; long waiting lists for ESOL classes; and lack of specific mental health provision for traumatised refugees.
Hull City of Sanctuary will seek to change attitudes by raising awareness, acting as a change agent in statutory, commercial and voluntary sector organisations, and by networking with other towns and cities.
Peter Campion, Chair, Hull City of Sanctuary Working Group.