What is a City of Sanctuary?

City of Sanctuary began in October 2005 in Sheffield. In September 2007, with the support of the City Council and over 70 local community organisations, Sheffield became the UK’s first ‘City of Sanctuary’ – a city that takes pride in the welcome it offers to people in need of safety.

Since then, City of Sanctuary UK, the umbrella organisation, has supported the development of a network of villages, towns and cities working to make themselves a place of welcome to people seeking sanctuary. City of Sanctuary UK also support organisations becoming Streams of Sanctuary, Sanctuary Awards, and other activities intended to welcome people seeking sanctuary.

Reading City Of Sanctuary

In October 2014, Reading Refugee Support Group launched Reading’s bid to become a City of Sanctuary, in partnership with British Red Cross, Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (ACRE), Reading Voluntary Action (RVA), The Mustard Tree, and Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC), with the aim of making Reading more welcoming to refugees and people seeking asylum.

Reading City of Sanctuary operates as an arm of Reading Refugee Support Group, and its main focus is working with agencies, organisations and businesses to encourage the learning, embedding and sharing of sanctuary principles in their governance and operations.

RCoS also run popular one-to-one English classes that function as a befriending service. These classes are open to any refugees and people seeking asylum in Berkshire.

If your organisation would like to get involved with Reading City of Sanctuary, please get in touch:

Maggie Filipova-Rivers
Manager, Reading City Of Sanctuary

Reading steering group contacts
Nick Harborne, Reading Refugee Support Group – 0118 950 5356
Zainab Koroma, British Red Cross – 0118 935 8216
Victor Koroma, ACRE – 0118 951 0279
Sarah Morland, RVA – 0118 957 4123
Lorraine Briffitt, The Mustard Tree – 0118 9567 000
Martin Mikhail, RISC – 0118 958 6692

City of Sanctuary contact:
Tiffy Owen, National Coordinator, City of Sanctuary – 07875 694 070


City of Sanctuary Cafés


Sanctuary cafeA number of Cafés around Reading have partnered with Reading City of Sanctuary to become Sanctuary Cafés. Customers can purchase an extra coffee on top of their own order. This will then go into the coffee bank to support local sanctuary seekers in Berkshire.

City of Sanctuary Cafés Timetable

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