Bradford has been officially recognised as a City of Sanctuary – and is only the third city in the country to achieve the status.
A voting panel representing the national movement unanimously voted in the city’s favour, after two years of campaigning by Bradford’s City of Sanctuary group.
Will Sutcliffe, chairman of Bradford’s project, said: “It’s a good news story – the key thing is although the organising committee is small, it represents a huge amount happening across the city. The city really has got something to be proud of.
“The movement is growing astonishingly rapidly. We were ahead of the game in Bradford, the first in the region to launch, and there’s now groups working on Yorkshire and Humber becoming a Region of Sanctuary.”
The Bradford campaign has the support of about 100 groups including the Bradford Church of England Diocese, the Council for Mosques, the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and other community groups and associations.
It aims to ensure asylum-seekers and refugees are fully included in the activities and membership of community groups and that they are able to access essential services such as education, health and transport.
The recognition of Bradford as a City of Sanctuary will be a huge boost for the city, said Mr Sutcliffe.
“It says we are a city that welcomes and includes people seeking sanctuary,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’ve got there and got nothing else to do, but it does mean there’s a huge amount happening across the city in a broad spectrum of different corners of the city.
“There are a lot of very good voluntary projects for people seeking sanctuary.
“People who have fled for their lives from some of the worst trouble spots in the world are more likely to find a welcome and help in Bradford than in many other cities. Bradford can stand up and be proud of itself.”
Encouraging people to get involved with the campaign he said: “There’s no way we are going to rest on our laurels – hopefully this will bring the movement to the attention of more people and attract more people to get involved.”
To find out more about the City of Sanctuary project phone (01274) 721626 or visit cityofsanctuary.org/bradford.