Following on from Refugee Week last week, St Brendan’s Sixth Form College ran an event ‘Celebrating Sanctuary’ on Wednesday 26th June. The celebration event was attended by Bristol Mayor George Ferguson and guests from ‘Bristol City of Sanctuary’, ‘Bristol Refugee Rights’ and ‘Dignity for Asylum Seekers’. The event consisted of talks, poetry, music and theatre which all reflected issues surrounding asylum and refugees.

St Brendan’s Sixth Form College has recently gained the Investors in Diversity Award and is keen to move forward its work on equality, diversity and inclusion. As part of this drive, they are working to become a College of Sanctuary.

They have put in place a plan that has been agreed by their Governors and involves all students finding out about refugee and asylum seeker issues as part of their tutorial programme, as well as attending college wide assemblies and dedicated conferences on related themes.

All students at the College undertake a course called ‘Spiritual Journey’, and as part of this, a conference was held in April on the theme of sanctuary and welcomed speakers from the City of Sanctuary, raising awareness amongst the students.

During today’s celebration, the audience of students, staff and guests were entertained by music, dance and drama, ranging from a contemporary dance by the A-level dance students to a rap by music performing student Abdi Mirreh. There was also an extract from ‘Listen to our Story’ performed by members of Bristol Refugee Rights and the community theatre Acta. The event opened with a talk by Forward Maisokwadzo, Coordinator, Bristol City of Sanctuary.

St Brendan’s realises there is a lot more work to do to be able to genuinely say they are a College of Sanctuary, but they feel they are on the journey and can achieve the status in partnership with refugee communities and the on-going support of the City of Sanctuary organisation.

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson endorsed the College’s work and commented: “Part of a welcoming city is having schools and colleges part of that. It is great that St Brendan’s is getting involved with becoming a ‘College of Sanctuary’. This is an exciting time as the city becomes more diverse and Colleges like St Brendan’s, becoming more active is excellent”.

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