Harrogate College first in North Yorkshire to achieve College of Sanctuary status

15 June, 2022 1:10 pm

We have become the first college in the district to achieve College of Sanctuary status.

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. 

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 23 June 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.

City of Sanctuary is a network contributing to building the movement for welcome

and inclusion in the UK by promoting, recognising and celebrating ways in which people seeking sanctuary enrich society.