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Hi Friends,

I’m ‘not just an asylum seeker’. I’m a….. journalist, a kite flier, a gardener, a lecturer, a painter & decorator, a singer, a youthworker, an expert in water quality, a gardener, a photographer, a beautician, an administrator, a chef.’
At our Volunteer Training Session last week we were doing a skills audit and, as well as being speakers of multiple languages, our sanctuary seekers revealed themselves to be full of experiences, qualifications and skills that they would love the opportunity to share with their new country.

If you know of situations, places or people who can use these talents do get in touch. Meanwhile this is the team who will be developing Conversation Club over the coming months. You are certainly most welcome!

Welcome, Croeso  Ẹ ku abọ,  መርሓባ (merhaba),  ཕེབས་པར་དགའ་བསུ་ཞུ།,   እንኳን ደህና መጣሽ።

Mbote,  Bienvenue,  Soo dhowow, (ənkwan dähna mäṭṭaš), (ahlan wa sahlan) أهلاً و سهلاً
(pakheyr) پخير‏,   ਜੀ ਆਇਆ ਨੂੰ। / جی آیاں نُوں (jī āiā nū̃),   Be kher hati,    (khosh amadid) خوش آمدید

Last Friday the MCoS women who are in the WAST Choir were performing at the Women on the Move Awards in London. Congratulations go to Mariam Yusaf from WAST who was presented with the Woman of the Year Award 2016!

See you on Thursday at 6pm!

Greetings from Anita, Mayam, David, Fay, Jeff, Nadine, Jane, Dianne, Charles, Jila.
Ps. The Sponsored Bike Ride total has just hit £665! Thank you so much.


  1. Conversation Clubs
  2. Open Meeting to develop Maternity Services for Asylum Seekers
  3. Supporting Manchester City of Sanctuary
  4. Opportunities to improve your English
  5. Foodbanks
  6. Manchester Schools of Sanctuary
  7. Activism Co-ordinator – Regional Asylum Activism North West – Maternity Cover

1. Conversation Clubs

Making Music

Thursday’s theme is sharing our music. If you have a friend who is a musician please invite them and their instrument.
Thursday March 17th 6-8pm at Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, City Centre M2 1NL
(If you have a spare guitar please bring it.)

The March Community Meal
will be on Easter Sunday 27th March 1-3pm at Transformation Community Resource Centre, Richmond Rd, Longsight M13 0LN.

NB: Thursday 21st April 6-8pm it will be at Manchester Cathedral Visitors Centre, 10 Cateaton Street, near Selfridges, M3 1SQ

Conversation Club is a chance for people of the same nationality or who speak the same language to meet and encourage each other and pass on news and advice on surviving in the asylum system.
It’s a chance for British people to share local knowledge and help sanctuary seekers integrate in their new society.

2. Open Meeting to develop Maternity Services for Asylum Seekers

Maternity Services

Maternity services are much in the news this week. They need to be. Maternal and infant deaths of women seeking asylum are much higher than for the rest of the population. The reasons are multiple but we want to enable much greater understanding in the profession of the needs of women who have fled war and persecution and the vulnerability of women in NASS accomodation and destitute women still within the asylum process.

On March 13th and 17th there are 2 conferences in Salford on Maternity Services for Asylum Seekers, to be addressed by Rose McCarthy and some City of Sanctuary members who can speak from firsthand experience.
(Eventbrite Beyond Consent: Supporting Women’s Choices)

On Thursday May 5th we will be hosting a session for everyone interested in increasing levels of support for mothers-to-be who are also sanctuary seekers. We hope to bring together pregnant and nursing mothers who are sanctuary seekers, Sandra Cahill, who is the midwife for all asylum seeker births and any health visitors, midwives, NCT members, doulas, breastfeeding support, befrienders and anyone else interested in supporting women during and after pregnancy.
Please contact [email protected] if you would like an invitation.

3. Supporting Manchester City of Sanctuary

Can you help?

You can now sign up for a direct debit form on our website https://manchester . cityofsanctuary . org. There will be donation boxes, direct debit forms and sponsor forms available at each Conversation Club. Please contact Anita if you can help [email protected] or [email protected]

Manchester City of Sanctuary runs on the generosity of its supporters.
People fleeing persecution and war usually arrive alone. They have left everything to find a place of safety. After a period of time in detention, and several addresses later, they may be moved to a street near you.
Please help us to connect new asylum seekers with people who can welcome and help them.

We need small amounts of money to use to pay bus fares.
Each Conversation Club needs 60-70 bus fares, each English Class, bike session, theatre ticket, planning group session needs 10-12 bus fares to make it possible for asylum seekers to take part.

We need larger amounts of money to fund our worker after September and to develop many more integration activities.

4. Opportunities to improve your English

Opportunities to improve your English

Pre-Entry ESOL

Monday 10am-12pm THE OASIS CENTRE, Collier House, 69 Haworth Road,  Gorton, M18 8TX   07732 352 568
Tuesday & Thursday 1-3pm RAINBOW HAVEN(with Creche) 113 Abbey Hey Lane, Gorton, M18 8TJ
Wednesday 1pm-3pm REVIVE, The Spiritan Centre, Northallerton Rd, Lower Kersal, Salford, M7 3TP (supported by MCoS volunteer English teachers)
Wednesday 10am-11.30pm Drop-In English Conversation Class,Levenshulme Inspire,M19 3AR (0161 850 5717)
Thursday 10-12noon ESOL Class at Victoria Park Fellowship M14 5GP  email [email protected]
Tuesday & Thursday : St Brides Church, 3 Blair Street, Old Trafford. M16 9AZ  0161 226 3047
Tuesday and Thursday :Alexandria Library, 247 Wilmslow Rd, 10am-12pm Beginners
Monday & Friday : Alexandria Library 1pm-2pm Lower Intermediate, 3-4pm Intermediate

5. Foodbanks


Thankfully our Asylum Seekers have access to a local Foodbank when the last of their luck runs out.
MCoS can issue a Food Voucher to help destitute asylum seekers. Please see Jane or Charles if you need help.

The foodbanks are available
every Monday 1-3pm (except Bank Holidays)
every Thursday 2-4pm
at Transformation Community Resource Centre M13 0LN

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
at Avila House on Oxford Road, next to the Catholic Chaplaincy 335-7 Oxford Rd M13 9PG.

The foodbanks would welcome donations of dried/tinned/packets of rice, oil, pasta,sugar, tea, coffee, UHT milk, cereal, soup, beans, pasta sauce, noodles, tinned vegetables, meat, tuna, rice pudding, biscuits, snacks, chocolate, jam, ketchup, boxed juice.

6. Manchester Schools of Sanctuary

Are you a Teacher, T.A. or Headteacher?

Manchester City of Sanctuary helps schools to raise awareness of the needs of sanctuary seekers amongst the children. Children understand justice and they understand friendship.They can be great friends to families who are new to this country, who have been forced to flee their homeland.

If you are a teacher, T.A. or headteacher and want to ensure your school community knows how to make them welcome then please check out our Schools of Sanctuary page on our website :
www . cityofsanctuary . org/schoolsofsanctuary .Your school could be awarded “School of Sanctuary” status.

If you would be interested in a singing project to bring your school community together check out this example from PopUK https://www . youtube . com/watch?v=0JFhcdb70R0

If you are interested in more information for Manchester schools please send Jane or Fay your contact details.

7. Activism Co-ordinator – Regional Asylum Activism North West – Maternity Cover

Activism Co-ordinator – Regional Asylum Activism North West – Maternity Cover

Location: Manchester, to cover the North West region
Hours: Full time (35 hours per week)
Salary: £25,000 per annum + pension
Contract: Maternity Cover 6 month contract with the possibility of extension

Regional Asylum Activism (RAA) uses regional organising to achieve a louder, better coordinated voice for asylum seekers and refugees. We support existing campaigns and increase the involvement of those with direct experience of asylum. Our aims are:

– To inform and change attitudes about asylum seekers and refugees.

– To campaign for positive change to the asylum system.

The successful candidate will have an excellent knowledge of asylum in the UK and the ability to provide a platform for those directly affected by injustice. They will know how to influence politicians, journalists and communities and have experience of achieving policy change. They will be able to build strong partnerships and work collaboratively with individuals and organisations.

How to apply:

Please download an application pack from the STAR website and return completed to Jonathan Waring at the email address in the pack, or at STAR, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA

Closing date for applications is 9 am, Monday 4th April
You must be available for interview Tuesday 12th April

For further information and a link to the application pack, see the STAR website: http ://www . star-network . org . uk/index . php/about/job_opportunities

“The objective of the City of Sanctuary movement is to create a culture of welcome and hospitality for those seeking Sanctuary, Refugees and other vulnerable migrants amongst us” – Inderjit Bhogal, founder of City of Sanctuary