Rooted in the conviction that there is that of God in every person, Quakers across Britain are working to welcome people seeking sanctuary.


“Through Quakers' longstanding work welcoming newcomers to our shores, we have seen up close that the government's creation of a 'hostile environment' is increasingly embedding policies of discrimination into the practices of the British state. Quakers in Britain are committed to working with others to change this, creating a culture of compassion and welcoming hospitality that answers that of God in every person."
- Sanctuary Everywhere Manifesto, Meeting for Sufferings


Hundreds of Quakers around Britain have responded to the migration crisis by acting in solidarity with refugees and migrants. Quakers in Britain as an organisation now accompanies Quakers in this work through the Sanctuary Everywhere programme.

Launched in August 2017, the Sanctuary Everywhere programme offers funding, guidance and political advocacy support to a network of Quaker local meetings who pledge to create a culture of welcome in their communities.

Get involved


    Sanctuary Everywhere Manifesto

    Read our commitment to end detention and challenge racism in our communities.

    What is a Sanctuary Meeting?

    A Sanctuary Meeting is a Quaker Meeting that is committed to:

    1. Joining local initiatives to build a culture of welcome
    2. Building alliances with groups opposing racism
    3. Working with others to change the laws on destitution, detention, deportations and removals.

    What makes a Sanctuary Meeting?

    How a Sanctuary Meeting fulfills the commitments changes from area to area. Actions taken will vary in response to local issues, abilities and passions within the community, and the leadings of the Spirit. Here are some of the things that Sanctuary Meetings are supported to do:

    • Building alliances with migrant or BME-led anti-racist groups in your area, including by offering room grants.
    • Holding at least one public meeting a year with other local groups, especially people with direct experience of being discriminated against by the border system.
    • Lobbying local politicians. Use our Sanctuary Everywhere Manifesto to inform your demands.
    • Offering accompaniment to people seeking sanctuary in negotiating 'everyday borders' such as healthcare and the education system
    • Assisting campaigns that use direct action to resist deportation.

    Further possibilities...

    • Affiliating with a local City of Sanctuary group, if one is nearby
    • If your meeting is based in the countryside, linking up with city-based groups to offer holidays or short breaks for sanctuary seekers
    • If your meeting is close to a Quaker school, working together on projects to assist asylum seeking children
    • If your meeting is within travelling distance of an immigration detention centre, at least one person joining a visiting group, upheld by – and reporting back to – the meeting
    • If your meeting owns property, considering turning these into houses of hospitality for people made destitute by the asylum system. Younger Friends in your meeting could be particularly interested in helping to run houses of hospitality.

    Read our Being a Sanctuary Meeting: Q and A resource to learn more.


    By committing to being a Sanctuary Meeting, local meetings become part of an international movement to build a culture of hospitality. You will be supported with training, publicity materials, retreats, teleconferences and mutual support networks, channelled into a campaign for political change.

    What is happening already?

    Quakers across Britain are working in different ways to welcome newcomers to the country. You can read stories about Quakers providing housing for destitute asylum seekers , supporting and setting up City of Sanctuary groups, welcoming resettled refugees, hosting community gardening projects, and campaigning with the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network.

    There are now more than 40 Sanctuary Meetings in Scotland, Wales and England, and we can support all who choose to join them in this committment to creating sanctuary everywhere.

    Become a Sanctuary Meeting

    At your next Local Business Meeting, seek a minute committing to the three points listed above.

    Email your Local Meeting minute and contact details for the two people working on the project to At least one of the two people should be a member or attender at your meeting. You will then receive support tailored to the needs of your meeting and local community.

    To find out more about forced migration and what what it means to be a Sanctuary Meeting, listen to the Sanctuary editions of the Q:Witness podcast below.

    Solidarity with Yarl's Wood detainees

    120 women who are detained without trial in Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre have gone on hunger strike. Quakers are standing in solidarity with them. Add your support by writing to your MP, suggested wording below. Find out who your MP is by putting your postcode in at

    Dear xxxx

    I am writing to you as a constituent to ask you to speak out in support of the women in Yarl's Wood.

    More than a hundred women are on hunger strike at Yarl's Wood, the immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire, to protest the conditions in which they are imprisoned.

    My faith compels me to speak up on their behalf and to stand beside them. We recognise that of God in every single person. Quakers across Britain are forming Sanctuary Meetings in order to campaign for changes to the asylum process so that it is built on a culture of compassion rather than an assumption of disbelief.

    The human cost of indefinite detention is immeasurable; many people suffer long-term damage to their physical and mental health, while families experience the distress of separation. The financial cost is high; indefinite detention is robbing people of their lives and taxpayers of their money.

    Every day that indefinite immigration detention exists further undermines Britain's tradition of civil liberties. Indefinite detention is neither right nor necessary, and there are practical and humane alternatives to detention which allow people to contribute to society. I urge you to help us ensure that justice and compassion are the guiding principles in the treatment of asylum seekers, forced migrants and refugees.

    I ask you to speak out in support of the women in Yarl's Wood today, and to support us in our efforts to end indefinite detention in the next Immigration Bill.

    In Friendship,


    Related blog

    Support the right to family life

    13 March 2018 by Jessica Metheringham

    Contact us

    To ask any questions, or to tell us that your meeting wants to be a Sanctuary Meeting, please get in touch using the below details with your name, meeting, and telephone number.

    Sanctuary Everywhere Programme
    020 7663 1096