Last summer, NTU and the University of Nottingham became the first institutions in the country to be jointly awarded University of Sanctuary status, after submitting a bid under the umbrella of the Universities for Nottingham Project. This award was received in recognition of existing work and of a shared commitment to those seeking sanctuary in our communities.
We are delighted that the University of Nottingham and NTU can be recognised as Universities of Sanctuary. The scholarships, research and outreach activity developed by the universities so far have contributed positively to the community.
Delivering on plans outlined in the bid, both institutions have joined forces to combine networks of staff and students, upholding the award’s principles of ‘learn’, ‘share’ and ‘embed’ through a series of shared training and awareness-raising opportunities.
The initiative has already delivered sessions designed to raise awareness and tackle topics relating to refugees and asylum seekers. An early workshop provided insight from a University of Nottingham student who shared an account of their lived experience of applying to university as an asylum-seeker. Another workshop for staff and students was held at the Sutton Bonington Campus, near to the village of Kegworth, where asylum seekers have been housed, and in July, an afternoon session delivered by Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum (NNRF), saw around 40 academic and professional services colleagues from across both institutions come together at NTU to learn more about the sanctuary seeking process and issues facing sanctuary seekers in the local and HE contexts.
The Nottingham Universities of Sanctuary network have also celebrated Nottingham Refugee Week and supported local charities with fundraising efforts, raising around £650 towards services for sanctuary seekers in the local area, including emergency support kits for those forced to resort to rough sleeping while seeking accommodation.
NTU and the University of Nottingham remain committed to working together to promote support and safety throughout our community for those seeking sanctuary through outstanding outreach, research, training and educational opportunity.
English language support initiatives have been established in partnership with community groups across Nottingham too, with TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) students and STAR (Student Action for Refugees) members from both universities delivering free sessions supporting sanctuary-seeking and migrant families with language development in collaboration with a number of organisations. These include Nottingham Red Cross, Refugee Roots, Nottingham Women’s Centre, Signpost to Polish Success, Nottingham City Libraries, and a number of school-based parent community groups, amongst others.
For more information on Nottingham Universities of Sanctuary, or to get involved, please feel free to contact Lucy Judd (NTU) in the first instance.
For more details of the national University of Sanctuary initiative, please visit: https://universities.cityofsanctuary.org/