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

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 provides 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

    Resource

    Toolkit for action: Owning power and privilege

    Download our guide to developing an inclusive and sustainable dynamic within your meeting.

    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.

    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 BAME-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.

    What are Quakers doing 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.

    Watch the video below to get a quick overview of the work Sanctuary Meetings, individual Quakers and and Quaker Peace & Social Witness staff are doing to support refugees and migrants.

    20 Simple Acts: Quakers in Britain #refugeeweek from Quakers in Britain on Vimeo.

    There are now 98 Sanctuary Meetings in based in Scotland, Wales and England, and we can support all who choose to join them in this committment to creating sanctuary everywhere.

    Sanctuary Appeal 2020

    Help us keep Sanctuary Everywhere going in 2020! Sanctuary Everywhere has caught the attention of Quakers. Almost 100 meetings – more than one in five of all local and area meetings – are signed up as Sanctuary Meetings. Friends across the country have set up refugee accompanying and befriending schemes, provided accommodation, offered English lessons and campaigned to end deportations.

    The programme is currently due to end in December 2019. We want to keep this work going, and are looking for cost savings within BYM's budget and external sources of funding to help pay for a year's extension. But to ensure the programme can continue throughout 2020 we need to raise £76,000.

    You can support the Sanctuary 2020 appeal by giving online now or sending a cheque made out to 'Britain Yearly Meeting' to 'Sanctuary 2020, FREEPOST QUAKERS' (yes, that it the whole address, and no stamp is required!).

    You can also help by getting the appeal on your meeting's agenda, holding a special collection or organising a fundraising event. You may find the following materials helpful:

    To find out more about the appeal place contact Tatiana Garavito at tatianag@quaker.org.uk.

    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 sanctuary@quaker.org.uk. At least one of the two people should be a member or attender at your meeting. You will be supported with training, publicity materials, retreats, teleconferences and mutual support networks, channelled into a campaign for political change.

    Write to your MP

    The Immigration Bill is currently going through Parliament. Write to your MP, or invite them to a meeting, and ask them to support key reforms to our immigration system, including limiting immigration detention to 28 days and supporting asylum seekers' right to work. Download a template letter to write to your MP. (.doc) If you have personal experience of working with people seeking sanctuary, then please share your stories.

    Useful resources

    The Sanctuary Everywhere Manifesto The manifesto agreed by the highest Quaker decision-making body in Britain, Meeting for Sufferings. Among other things, it calls for the closure of immigration detention centres. Download the Sanctuary Everywhere Manifesto (PDF).

    The Sanctuary Everywhere booklet of testimonies Quakers share their reasons for working on the issue of migration and racial justice, and the actions they are taking. Download the booklet of testimonies (PDF).

    Being a Sanctuary Meeting: Questions and Answers A short leaflet that provides information that may help your meeting come to a decision about becoming a Sanctuary Meeting. Download Being a Sanctuary Meeting (PDF).

    Toolkit for action: Owning power and privilege A booklet designed to help groups work through power dynamics that can emerge in social justice work, particularly relating to migrant and racial justice. Download the Owning power and privilege toolkit for action (PDF).

    Podcast episodes 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:


    Video interview Watch Kurt Strauss, a man who escaped Nazi Germany through the Quaker Kindertransport movement, speak about his experience of finding asylum.

    Related blog

    Does punishment work?

    15 October 2019 by Teresa Parker

    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
    sanctuary@quaker.org.uk