Reading City of Sanctuary Meeting 29th May 2024

Reading City of Sanctuary Meeting 29th May 2024 7 pm at RISC:

Note of the meeting. 

We held a City of Sanctuary meeting to discuss the future of RCoS:  should RSG still host it, what were its plans, where else could it be located, who else maybe interested in managing it.   

It was a hybrid meeting, attended by approx. 20 befrienders, volunteers, other CVS colleagues, Reading Borough Council Officers and RSG Trustee Doon Lovett. 

Nick Harborne (NH) opened the meeting by detailing the brief history of the origins of RCoS from early days of the steering group, to what they’d achieved (RBC Council of Sanctuary, Our, schools pack, maternity project, Rank & File theatre group) and new partners they’d attracted (Newbury Library, MERL & Reading Museum, cafes, WBC, RBC,).  He explained that the steering group had struggled and not taken RCoS to become a CIC and rather than let it fold, RSG agreed to carry on running it, hosting and employing a coordinator and Hadil (HT) on P/T basis until this became possible. 

NH introduced HT who gave a brief description of the programme, and raised some of the challenges RCoS faced since the departure of the City of Sanctuary Coordinator last year. 

NH invited Colin to speak as an original member of steering group and based at university, who spoke about options to carry on the work of RCoS:  basing it at other organisation, picking up the CIC option, leaving it at RSG or some other option. 

Suggestions included looking at: 

  • other CoS models 
  • and the need for a f/t leader/volunteer 
  • the concept of CoS as an umbrella organisation 
  • possible subscription by member organisations to create funding. 

There was no conclusive decision as to the way forward.   

Overall, there was a drive and commitment to see RCoS survive and carry on its work. 

There was perhaps a feeling that taking RCoS out of RSG was the way forward, but further meetings are needed to work out where and how we are heading. 

ACTION:  RSG to arrange further consultation. 

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