AU Watch

Start a Group

How to set up a group
We are delighted that you are thinking about becoming a group that will work towards making your city, town, village or region a welcoming place of safety for all. Our network has grown to over 100 groups throughout the UK and Ireland, since it began in Sheffield in 2005. It now represents a comprehensive and wide ranging commitment to welcome refugees.

City of Sanctuary groups go beyond what they themselves can do to help refugees. They act as a rallying cry to other organisations and individuals in an area to offer sanctuary and welcome. A group does not have to take on a specific structure and there are lots of different ways to set up a group. Some groups have paid workers and a formal budget, whereas others are entirely voluntary. There are rich and varied resources on our website to give you ideas.

Whilst there is flexibility in determining how best to work towards our vision, what we do request, in order to maintain cohesiveness across our network is that local groups endorse our Charter, incorporate and adopt our network principles and abide by our values.

Setting up a City of Sanctuary Group and registering with City of Sanctuary UK
Before you register:

  • Please familiarise yourself with our Charter.
  • It’s a good idea to check if there’s a local group in a village, town, city or area near you. You can do that here – Local groups. You may want to contact them to find out how they do things.
  • Look at our Inspiration Hub and Group Activities pages to get some ideas about what your group could do.
  • Contact the Coordinator for your area here to discuss setting up your group.
  • There is support available for your group – Contact us
  • Register your details below to confirm your commitment to working towards our vision in a way which aligns with our values and network principles.

We can help you to create a website and set up email addresses for your group. We provide tools and training to help you with this, so do not w

What are the benefits of registering your group?

  • Sorry if you haven’t got any any experience in this. Please visit this page or get in touch with our Website Support Officer, who will help you get started.
  • Our Regional Coordinators can provide you with advice and support
  • Sign up to receive our Newsletter
  • You will be invited to attend regionally conferences, meetings, training and national events (which are usually free and we are sometimes able to provide travel bursaries)
  • There are some useful Resources for Groups to help you get your group up and running
  • Our Inspiration Hub and Group Activities will provide you with ideas about what your group could do
  • Register your group

As a newly registered City of Sanctuary group, we agree to:-

  • Work towards realising the City of Sanctuary vision through creating a culture of welcome and hospitality for people seeking safety.
  • Work to connect people seeking sanctuary with other local people and to celebrate their contribution to our communities, towns and cities.
  • Seek to be inclusive in generating a culture of welcome, involving different sectors such as education, local government, health, sports and arts, as well as refugee organisations.
  • Work as an alliance between local people and sanctuary seekers to run the group wherever possible and appropriate.
  • Be prepared to share successes, ideas and learning with other groups and the network.
  • Join in regional events where possible.
  • Avoid bringing the name of City of Sanctuary into disrepute, in particular by not engaging in abusive, racist, discriminatory, exclusionary, offensive or dangerous behaviour.