On 29th of November two members of the Harrogate District of Sanctuary had a wonderful experience visiting the Third Annual Sanctuary in Parliament. Jenny Travena, Chair of Harrogate District of Sanctuary, together with Syrian refugee Zakaria Battal were met in London and accompanied to SiP by Jamie Scattergood, a Harrogate man now living in London who spent a couple of years in Jordan and learned to speak Arabic. Jamie acted as our guide and interpreter. The three of us had a great time and were warmly welcomed by Emma (City of Sanctuary) and John Mellor, Chair of neighbouring Ripon City Of Sanctuary (and also Trustee of National CofS).
We heard many speakers and heard many stories told by asylum seekers and refugees, and also heard from Sanctuary groups from around the country. We also heard poetry readings and even had an amazing Kurdish singer who sang a wonderful song in Kurdish which had Zakaria moved to tears!
We were unable to meet the Harrogate MP but were fortunate to be invited to join John Mellor who met his MP Julian Smith. Zakaria, Jamie, John and I were joined by Duncan, regional chair and Trustee of City of Sanctuary and we had a good meeting with Julian Smith and put across many key points, stressing particularly the need for more government support for English Language lessons for both refugees and Asylum Seekers, and also the need for more rights for Asylum seekers. Thes are issues we will be following up with our own MP Andrew Jones