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We’re delighted to announce that on Wednesday 19 June Portsmouth formally launched as City of Sanctuary, declaring itself a place of welcome and safety for any community or individual that is vulnerable or isolated. Initiated by ArtReach and British Red Cross in 2018, the movement has grown organically at a grassroots level, led by the enthusiasm of its supporting organisations.

With support from Portsmouth City Council and over 80 local organisations, the movement is set to make a tangible difference, connecting a network of important, existing projects, services and best-practice across the city. While we follow the values of the national movement, our own Portsmouth approach will be tailored to Portsmouth’s own distinctive needs, communities and character.

Reflecting the growing needs of the community, we are the only Sanctuary group broadening the scope to tackle vulnerability wherever we find it, in no way restricted to any single population group. Whether you have been in the city 4 days or 40 years, whether you’re a refugee, a struggling veteran, homeless or elderly and socially isolated, City of Sanctuary aims to support and meet your needs.

The event took place at Portsmouth Guildhall with over 150 attendees and speakers from British Red Cross, University of Portsmouth and Veterans Outreach Service. Performances from Global Sounds Portsmouth and Admiral Lord Nelson School, Portsmouth’s first School of Sanctuary, helped further highlight some of the work already taking place in the city.

Working collaboratively, Portsmouth City of Sanctuary will be establishing streams of activity to provide support across its network including in the areas of Health & Well-being, Education, Arts & Theatre and Advocacy.

Please get in touch to find out how the Portsmouth City of Sanctuary can support you or for more information about how your organisation can get involved.