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Hi All,
This week’s bulletin is full of news and updates. But first we would ask you to take two minutes to fill in our  brief 10-question, survey so that we can make the information more helpful and accessible. Here’s the live link for you and the other 469 people who receive this bulletin:

https://www . surveymonkey . co . uk/r/YRZKSGL ;;
Thank you so much!

Our 2nd Cycling Course started last week and 12 more asylum seekers are learning to cycle, do their own bike maintenance and stay safe on Manchester roads. These bikes (above) make a big difference to 12 asylum seekers’ daily living: (You can support our attempts to give cycle training and bikes to many more asylum seekers by clicking heregofundme . com/mcos-ride-free)

A big thank you again to Eve Holt for pulling the project together – and to all the other volunteers from Whalley Range on Wheels, CycleUK and TfGM. Thanks to Tony Lloyd, Cllr Kate Chappell and Cllr.Angeliki Stogia for jumping on a bike with us and promising practical support. Thanks to Andrew Lambert for taking some amazing photos.
See us on Manchester TV on the Youtube link. Click HERE

On Friday 20th there will be a GM Education Conference addressing the needs of migrant children, including asylum seekers. Gill Rowlands, who heads up Liverpool Schools of Sanctuary, will be leading a seminar and Jane will be promoting the PopUK holiday Club to EAL teachers and primary headteachers. We hope to contact teachers, parents, school governors and pupils who would like to see Manchester schools become Schools of Sanctuary.

On Thursday 19th May 6-8pm at Cross Street Chapel, M2 1NL, there will be our May Conversation Club. The food will be provided by Melvyn and his team from Foodcycle. There’ll be about 60-80 asylum seekers and supporters and friends of City of Sanctuary are ALL very welcome.

Each of these events is an attempt to rehumanise the Asylum process and change statistics into real people, each with a history, who need a future, too.

We look forward to meeting you soon.
from Nadine, Jane, Dianne, Charles, Jila, Anita, Mayam, David Fay, & Jeff,


  1. Next Conversation Clubs
  2. MCoS Holiday Club 31st May – 3rd June
  3. Life Writing Course with Harriet Morgan-Shami and Tas Perry
  4. Regional Asylum Activism Network welcomes Julia Savage
  5. Supporting MCoS financially
  6. Become a Shopping Buddy – Opportunities every week to help Asylum Seekers
  7. Gofundme English Classes start next week
  8. Maternity Stream Launch in Manchester

1. Next Conversation Clubs

The next Conversation Club will be on Thursday 19th May 6-8pm at Cross Street Chapel, M2 1NL. The theme is ‘ Circles of Conversation’ and is being organised by MCoS Volunteers.

The next Community Meal is on Sunday 24th April 1-3pm.
We’ll be hearing about Jeff’s Magical Mystery Tour taking place on Wednesday 27th April 5pm for young people aged 17-21; and about our special PopUK Making Music, Making Friends Holiday Club at Whitsun half-term 31st May-3rd June for Asylum children at Primary School and local children who would like to come and make friends.
And we’ll be speed dating! ( See Charles Kwako-Odoifor details!)

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. MCoS Holiday Club 31st May – 3rd June

From Tuesday 31st May – Friday 3rd June 10am -12pm, MCoS will be running a special free Holiday Club for 4-11 year olds. (Older siblings are welcome too). If you would like to know more contact [email protected]  or Andy Silver at [email protected]
If you want a reccommendation ask the children of St Stephen’s school, Backburn: https://m . youtube . com/watch?v=0JFhcdb70R0

PopUK and MCoS are teaming up to run a unique singing and recording project for children from families seeking asylum from war and persecution, together with local British children who are willing to offer a hand of friendship.


3. Life Writing Course with Harriet Morgan-Shami and Tas Perry

For the past 6 weeks a group of 12 sanctuary seekers have been meeting with artists, Harriet and Tas, to learn expressive writing skills in English. Over the weeks they have written about their impressions of Manchester for new asylum seekers.

Here’s a taster from their group poem:

Travelling around Manchester: Sights and sounds of the City.


Collaborative poem.

                             “On the bus”

Many people waiting at the bus stop,

no one smiled.

My bus stop was empty.

Children playing waiting to go to school.

Old friends laughing,

people on their own looking sad.

Stressed, angry, nervous, I want to be on time – “Where is the bus?”

The bus arrives, relief.

The bus is busy – some people are running.

Sometimes you just miss the bus.

People on their phones, listening to music. There’s WiFi on the bus!

The phone is like a shield, protection.

Squashed together, but not connected.

I was told not to ask people questions,

try to find things out for my own self.

The driver sees me running, he shuts the door.

I smell weed, there’s a man at the back of bus rolling a splif.

People take their dogs on the bus!

The smell makes me feel sick.

Ladies put their bags on the seat next to them so no one can sit there.

I like the queuing, people take their turns,

they respect who was there first.

The bus is running late.

I see people walking, houses, schools, countryside.

I thought it would be beautiful.

I see people kissing.

Fog, steamy windows, rain, can’t see out of the window.

Dirty windows, blinded by the sun.

Sirens, ice-cream vans, children running

refuse trucks, cleaning cars, motorbikes.

My stop is coming.

I ring the bell.

Sometimes the driver forgets so I knock on the window,

sometimes I am thinking about my troubles and I miss the stop.

The bus is slowing down.

I stagger and bump into people.

Sometimes they are angry, “Don’t touch me.”

I say thank you to the driver.

I climb off.

My body relaxes.

How should I kill time?

It’s been a long day.

I am ready to go home.

Full English by Lucien

When you are hungry everything tastes good.

Sausages are too salty.

Everything is black and burnt.

The eggs are swimming in oil.

I wouldn’t normally eat anything so greasy.

I feel like throwing up.

I am angry with myself for having to eat this.

Disappointed in myself. I have no choice.

Poto poto: semolina, sugar, milk.

It makes you strong.

Eat in the morning until noon.

It makes you run, play football.

Never tired.

I feel good.

My mum is calling me to come and eat.

I don’t want anything, just to play.

4. Regional Asylum Activism Network welcomes Julia Savage

Welcome to Julia,
If you would like to sign up for R.A.A.N updates click: [email protected] . org
How Has Manchester Welcomed Refugees? An evening of talks and lively discussions 

The Portico Library, in partnership with Regional Asylum Activism and United for Change, invites you to an evening of talks and discussions exploring ‘How Has Greater Manchester Welcomed Refugees?’

Thurs 30th June 2016, 6-8pm
The Portico Library
, 57 Mosley Street, M2 3HY (Entrance on Charlotte Street)

Registration essential
Please call 0161 236 6785 or follow: http ://bit . ly/MCRWelcome.

Do you have a burning question about the role we’ve played in supporting refugees? Are you interested in learning how to make Greater Manchester a more welcoming place?
Expert speakers from refugee support organisations, the refugee community and academia will be joined by public figures to discuss how our great city has provided a place of safety for people fleeing persecution over the decades.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Jonathan Darling, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, The University of Manchester
  • William Longshaw, Manchester Refugee Support Network
  • Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South and candidate for Greater Manchester Mayor
  • Dianne Ngoza, lead member of United for Change and Manchester City of Sanctuary and Women Asylum Seekers Together.

    For more information, see the flyer. This event forms part of Greater Manchester’s Refugee Weekcelebrations.

5. Supporting MCoS financially

Can you help?

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.

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

6. Become a Shopping Buddy – Opportunities every week to help Asylum Seekers

We have just completed a survey of our Shopping Buddy Pilot scheme and the response has been very positive.
We are nearly ready to launch the scheme for a wider group of Sanctuary Seekers.

Could you be a Shopping Buddy too?

The Shopping Buddy Scheme pairs up local supporters with sanctuary seekers, who receive limited financial support from the Home Office on a voucher called an ‘Azure’ Card. By shopping together at the supermarkets involved in the scheme, supporters can really make a difference to the lives of sanctuary seekers.
It is very difficult to live without access to cash, especially if you have children. There are many things that can’t be bought in the big supermarkets: Bus tickets, bargains, ethnic foods and secondhand clothes.

If you would like to know more about the scheme or you know someone who needs a Shopping Buddy, please email:[email protected]

We need a shopping Buddy!

7. Gofundme English Classes start next week

Roger and Charlotte are fundraising for their 2nd 10 week English Course for our Sanctuary Seekers who have very little English yet.  The course starts 25th May. Please support their efforts. The link is

https://www . gofundme . com/23aw4hg

8. Maternity Stream Launch in Manchester

Thursday 5th May was the successful launch of our Maternity Stream for Manchester. 30 people came: experienced midwives, doulars, breastfeeding counsellors, anti-natal teachers, student midwives and asylum seekers who had experience of being destitute and pregnant whilst seeking asylum. There are already plans for a Maternity Conference for the NorthWest at Salford University in the Autumn, with the aim of listening to women’s voices and changing the realities for pregnant women in the asylum system. Please contact [email protected] . com

“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