Barnet: becoming a Borough...

Text: Barnet beciming a Borough of Sanctuary Logos: Barnet Together, City of Sanctuary and London Borough of Barnet

Earlier this year, a Council motion was unanimously passed at full Council to work towards Barnet becoming a Borough of Sanctuary. This will recognise Barnet as a borough proud of its diversity and history of welcoming people from across the world to settle here.  Borough of Sanctuary status is an awarded accreditation given by City of Sanctuary UK to local authorities and areas that go above and beyond to welcome those seeking a safe place to live.

Barnet is a place that has welcomed and co-ordinated the resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers, with the support of residents, partners, and community groups in recent years. This has included:

  • Around 1,040 Ukrainians supported through the Homes for Ukraine scheme
  • 6 refugee Afghan families re-settled in the borough through the ACRS/ARAP schemes
  • Commissioned New Citizens’ Gateway and Persian Advice Bureau to provide on-going support to asylum seekers in contingency hotels
  • 50 Syrian individuals supported through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme

To work towards Borough of Sanctuary status, last month Barnet Council launched the Borough of Sanctuary network with key partners to help set Barnet’s vision of becoming a place of welcome to all those who are seeking sanctuary. To be accredited with the Borough of Sanctuary status, we will all work together to ensure that our borough embodies the following values:

  • Inclusive – welcoming people from all backgrounds
  • Openness – working collaboratively across networks
  • Participation – working with people seeking sanctuary and valuing their contribution
  • Inspire – working with enthusiasm and positivity
  • Integrity – aspiring to high standards of honesty and behaviour

Cllr Conway said of this work “Barnet is proud of its diversity and history of welcoming people from across the world, with a tradition of supporting people seeking sanctuary here.  It is part of our collective story and working together to become a Borough of Sanctuary is an important next step of this shared commitment”

Moving forward, the Council will continue to work with statutory and voluntary partners, including the Barnet Together alliance, as well as refugee and asylum-seeking communities to shape this ambition and to work on the development of a Borough of Sanctuary strategy. They are always looking for more input, especially from those with lived experience so please do get into contact with ramisa.yazdanibiouki@barnet.gov.uk

Ramisa Yazdani-Biouki (LBB) and Debbie Bezalel (Inclusion Barnet)

 

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