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History of sanctuary and culture of welcome

History of sanctuary and culture of welcome

In 937, King Athelstan created a ring of sanctuary around Ripon by placing eight crosses on the roads approaching the city, with the Cathedral at the centre. Only one of these now remains but you can still follow the Sanctuary Way Walk around the city.
The Cathedral was one of the community venues for the ‘Sights and Sounds of Ripon’ event last month.  Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers, the day was enjoyed by many local residents and Connecting Ripon Network charity members, with entertainment for all ages and information shared about many local groups and opportunities to get involved.  

One of the groups with a stand in the Cathedral was Ripon City of Sanctuary. Their goal is to help continue Ripon’s long history as a place of sanctuary. Established in 2016, and part of the national network of City of Sanctuary groups, local volunteers help to promote a culture of welcome for people forced to flee their homes.

An important part of what they do is working with a network of Schools of Sanctuary to build a generation of children and young people across the city who understand asylum issues.

A small number of Syrian families have been resettled in Ripon and volunteers offer friendship and support, participation in activities and social events, so newly arrived families can get together and also make new British friends. 
Through the group’s amazing fundraising efforts, and generosity of local people, two more refugee families will be arriving in the next few months through the Community Sponsorship Scheme.

Ripon City of Sanctuary campaign on policies which they believe adversely affect refugees and asylum-seekers and run counter to the UK’s tradition of welcome. They see the many positives of having refugees in the community in Ripon, and how many people in the city share concerns about the welfare of refugees and asylum-seekers.

The current situation in Ukraine is devastating and urgent but it is important to make sure hosting arrangements are safe for everyone, working through trusted networks.

Ripon City of Sanctuary is holding a session on Wednesday 13 April at 7.30pm in Ripon to share their knowledge and experience and help already-matched hosts in the area to prepare for receiving their guests. The session will cover many of the issues and practicalities you need to think about preparing your home and yourselves; what's most important to your guests; thinking about confidentiality; dealing with the effects of trauma; practical advice including school places and access to healthcare and much more. 

The group is also looking at arrangements for peer-to-peer support for both hosts and guests. However they are not involved with the visa process so won't be able to take any visa-related questions. Hosts who are already matched with a guest can email to find out more.  

If you wish to support Ripon City of Sanctuary by donating or getting involved you can find details at and on their Facebook page.  Depending on your interests, time available and skills, there is plenty that you could do to help!  

HADCA is updating details for anyone wanting to keep informed, get involved and support the people of Ukraine - visit 

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