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Refugee Week 2024: global and local

“To me, a home is where you feel loved, safe, and cherished.”- Malala Yousafzai

Not only is this week Refugee Week, but the UN designates 20th June to World Refugee Day, an international day to honour refugees around the globe and celebrate the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. 

Here at the Oglesby Charitable Trust (OCT) we support a number of charities and organisations that are working to assist, and advocate for, people who are refugees or seeking asylum within the North of England. We hear from these organisations about the impact of hostile national immigration policies on people who are already the most vulnerable to homelessness, mental health problems, and exploitation. Our work in this area contributes to our goals to tackle health and social inequality at community level.

In Manchester, we have been collaborating with Manchester Art Gallery to develop the Families of the World programme to support displaced young families seeking sanctuary in the city. Rooted in the spirit of welcome, Families of the World focuses on children and families who are refugees or seeking asylum, and provides stay and play sessions, practical resources, whilst improving access and inclusion to cultural and civic spaces. Together, we aspire to create a city in which people who are refugees and asylum seekers can settle, thrive, and access the varied and rich resources our city has to offer. We were thrilled to hear recently that the Gallery has achieved Gallery of Sanctuary status in recognition of their work in becoming a place of welcome and safety for all, and offering sanctuary to all those fleeing violence and persecution.

Click here to view a video of the Families of the World programme

As well as Families of the World, the OCT supports a range of other charities in the migration sector, who are working to support people in our city region, including:

Afrocats: women working to build agency, aspiration and opportunity for women and girls to improve their overall life chances through creative engagement.

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit: free legal immigration advice, and representation and support services to children and vulnerable adults who are refugees and those seeking asylum.

Migrant Destitution Fund: provides direct cash payments to people who have been forced into destitution because of their immigration status, allowing people the dignity to choose and live more equally.

Rainbow Haven: provides community drop-in sessions that offer advice, support and activities for vulnerable people who are refugees or asylum seekers.

Refugee Action in Greater Manchester: provides advice and support and campaigns for a fairer asylum system.

Safety4Sisters: support for migrant women across the North West who have experienced gender-based violence and who have no recourse to public funds or state benefits.

Women Asylum Seekers Together: practical support and campaigning for social justice and women’s rights, helping migrant women find their place in the UK.

This Refugee Week, we acknowledge the increasing numbers of people displaced due to conflict, and economic and climate emergencies, and we reaffirm our position as a charitable Trust to pledge both support and welcome to those seeking to make our region their home.