Supporting refugees: Harrogate College first in North Yorkshire to be recognised with award

Harrogate College has become the first college in North Yorkshire to achieve College of Sanctuary status for its support for refugees.

By Graham Chalmers
Monday, 13th June 2022, 4:03 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 4:08 pm

City of Sanctuary awards colleges this recognition to those that go above and beyond to support refugees and people seeking asylum.

Through this national accolade, good practice is recognised and celebrated.

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Harrogate College has become the first college in North Yorkshire to achieve College of Sanctuary status.

The college, which submitted a portfolio of evidence collated over 18 months, was recognised for its values-led approach and for being an inclusive, nurturing and progressive education institution.

Holly Hansen-Maughan, Partnerships & Development Manager at Harrogate College, said: “The impact that an inclusive, welcoming, and nurturing college environment can have on asylum seekers and refugees is important.

“We are proud to be a college that helps its students, staff, and wider community to understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary, and to extend a welcome to everyone as equal, valued members of our college community.

“The recognition not only cements the work we are doing but represents just how far many people have travelled to be educated at our college and have progressed on other courses or employment.

“We are committed to being a safe place for those seeking sanctuary.

"Through our work with the Harrogate District of Sanctuary over the last year, we have looked at ways we can improve the support we offer and how those in our community can access that support and the resources we have available.”

Siân Summer-Rees, Chief Officer at the City of Sanctuary, said: “The team at Harrogate College have gone above and beyond to ensure students who have fled war and persecution feel safe and supported and we are delighted that they are now a College of Sanctuary, the first in North Yorkshire.

“Thoughtful, compassionate and welcoming support and attention mean people can achieve the best possible outcomes, and for many seeking sanctuary, the experiences they have on campus will shape their futures in their new country.”

The college is also hosting a refugee film festival this month, dedicated to showcasing films produced by both student refugees and filmmakers across the city about their lives and experiences.

Taking place on Thursday, June 23 from 6:00pm, the evening will feature several guest speakers, including local historian, Dr Paul Jennings. Organisations such as Oxfam and Harrogate District of Sanctuary will be there on the night to speak to people and share information.

There will also be community stalls and student displays.

Launched in October 2005 in Sheffield, City of Sanctuary started with the vision that the UK should be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.

There are now more than 120 grassroots networks of more than 120 local groups in the UK.