Council of Sanctuary status for Powys – although currently ‘does not accommodate any adult asylum seekers’
Powys is set to become a “council of sanctuary” and join a network of local authorities that help refugees.
At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, July 11 senior councillors are expected to agree a proposal to join the city of sanctuary local authority network and begin the application process to become a council of sanctuary.
The report by Greg Langridge-Thomas said: “Powys County Council is currently supporting the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Programme (ARAP), the Homes for Ukraine scheme, and the Welsh Government Ukraine Super Sponsor scheme.”
In February 2022, the UK Government mandated that all UK local authorities should accommodate a share of refugees, under the asylum dispersal programme.
Mr Langridge-Thomas said: “To date, Powys does not officially accommodate any adult asylum seekers.
“However, plans are being drawn up with partners to ensure that we are ready to accommodate any asylum seekers.
“A team Powys approach has been adopted to support and assist
refugees, and the council has worked in partnership across the public, private, and voluntary sector.”
Mr Langridge-Thomas said that support for refugees is “widespread” with seven groups existing in the county to “welcome and support” them on their resettlement in Powys.
In 2019, the Welsh Government declared, in a plan endorsed by the United Nations, that Wales would become the world’s first Nation of Sanctuary.
So far, Swansea City Council is only Welsh local authority who has achieved council of sanctuary status, but Flintshire, Newport, Vale of Glamorgan, and Monmouthshire councils have recently passed motions to work
towards achieving the accreditation.
Since 2016 the council has been supporting refugees to resettle inthe Powys and currently they help six families from Afghanistan, 15 families from Syria and 105 families from Ukraine.
If councillors agree the proposal the council will pledge to:
Support the City of Sanctuary vision that we will be a welcoming place of
safety for all, and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence,
persecution, famine, or natural disaster.
Endorse the charter and agree to act in accordance with city of sanctuary values and apply the network principles within our work.
Sanctuary seekers are welcomed, included, and supported and support local City of Sanctuary groups.
Challenge anti-refugee and anti-migrant attitudes wherever they are
Add the council’s name to a list of supporters of City of Sanctuary and
contribute ideas for how we can turn this support into practical action.
Membership of the local authority network is free, however accreditation costs £1,500 for three years.
By BBC LDRS
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