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University signs up to national initiative looking to provide safe haven for refugees

University of Gloucestershire has reaffirmed its commitment to providing a safe and supportive community for refugees by pledging its support for the University of Sanctuary initiative.

A national network of university staff, academics and students, the initiative celebrates the good practice of universities in creating a culture of welcome within their own institutions and the wider community through providing forced migrants with equal access to education, supporting local refugee communities, and teaching on issues around forced migration across a range of subject areas.

The University has signed up to the initiative as a Supporting Organisation and will now look to demonstrate the various aspects of its work in supporting refugees within its own academic and student community, and community groups and organisations by acquiring University of Sanctuary accreditation.

Dr Matthew Andrews, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Governance and Student Affairs) at the University, said: “I am both excited and very proud about the University’s public statement in becoming a Supporting Organisation.

“In line with our values, the University already has a strong track record in supporting individuals with a forced migration background such as working with Cara (Council for At-Risk Academics), offering the Michael Perham Sanctuary Scholarships, or sponsoring individuals through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. This agreement marks an important next step in our journey.”

Dr Alex Masardo, chair of the University’s Sanctuary Steering Group, said: “I am delighted that the University has become a Supporting Organisation on our journey towards seeking recognition as a University of Sanctuary. 

“This official support recognises the existing efforts of a range of colleagues from across the University, from academics and students to those working in professional services, to help support refugees and asylum seekers. 

“The support we wish to provide as a University must not only be meaningful and authentic but also sustainable.

“We will therefore endeavour to enhance and embed our current activities as well as seeking new ways of providing support over the coming academic year and in so doing create an environment in which those with a forced migration background can feel safe and thrive.”