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What is a Shop of Sanctuary?

A Shop of Sanctuary is a charity shop which has been recognised as a safe and inclusive place for all, especially refugees and asylum seekers – anyone seeking sanctuary.

A Shop of Sanctuary helps its staff, volunteers, customers and wider community understand what it means to be seeking sanctuary and to extend a welcome to everyone who comes into the shop as equal, valued members of the local community.

How can Charity shops help  spread welcome and support to people seeking  sanctuary?

Charity Shops can:

  • Provide volunteering opportunities for refugees and asylum-seekers, helping them to:
    • improve their English
    • meet people and make friends
    • gain skills, experience, and references
    • help others in the local community or beyond
  • Support local City of Sanctuary groups’ objectives, activities, and events
  • Organise their own events and publicity in the shop premises about asylum and refugee issues
  • Participate in joint events with local City of Sanctuary groups
  • Participate in the national annual Refugee Week celebrations

Who benefits from becoming involved the Shops of Sanctuary stream?

  • Charity Shop staff benefit by learning more about asylum issues and helping to build local awareness, understanding and welcome.
  • The local community benefits through increased engagement with people seeking sanctuary and fostering community cohesion.
  • People seeking sanctuary can gain valuable experience & skills by volunteering.
  • People seeking sanctuary can be sure of a welcome/assistance when shopping in-store.
  • CoS groups can new partnerships to develop and extend local welcome.