Hull proudly takes its place as City of Sanctuary

Published: Tuesday 20th June 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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Today is World Refugee Day. Hull has been named a City of Sanctuary to honour its history of offering a warm welcome to those fleeing persecution.

World Refugee Day is celebrated internationally and dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.

The naming ceremony for Hull as an official City of Sanctuary will be held at Hull Minster later today. The event will be hosted by local refugees, including Busalama, originally from Congo.

There will also be an array of notable speakers, including Baroness D’Souza, former Lord Speaker of the House of Lords; Sabir Zazai, Chair of City of Sanctuary; Nahro Zagros, who found sanctuary in Hull and is now Vice President of Soran University; and Chair of Hull 2017, Rosie Millard.

Incredibly, this will be the first time that the UK has observed World Refugee Day outside of London.

Humber All Nations Alliance is a registered charity. It aims to promote the wellbeing of Black and Minority Ethnic Groups (BME) in the region. The team does this by providing services, support, advocacy and representation to migrant communities.

We spoke to Ismael Ahmad, Community Development Worker at HANA, to find out about their efforts to help refugees and migrant people in the area.

“We work with communities in Hull who are from all over the world,” Ismael tells us. “They could be from Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, North Africa, East Africa, China, India, Iraq, Iran or Syria. Anywhere really.”

Migrants come to Hull for various reasons. Many of those that HANA works with are refugees or asylum seekers, but not all,” he explains.

“We work with these groups to integrate them into the wider community of Hull,” says Ismael. “Some of our clients have set up various projects that we continue to support. These can focus on anything from social and health problems to housing issues.”

HANA also signposts individuals and families to the correct relevant support agencies if necessary. This could be the National Health Service, council, local schools or the police.

The KCOM-equipped Learning Zone located in the building allows individuals to access these resources and complete necessary training.


“Our KCOM Hub is free to access. It is fully kitted out with computers and connected to the internet. Here, our clients can find information about any services or courses that they might need.”


HANA provides training for local services and will assist migrant groups in signing up for essential courses, such as access to English and food hygiene.

“We have delivered Equality and Diversity training for businesses in the city as well as the NHS, police and council. Last year, we provided training for KCOM,” Ismael points out.

“Otherwise, we work with training providers to help people from the diverse communities to improve their English language skills and access further qualifications.”

For further information, please visit the Humber All Nations Alliance website.

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Published: Tuesday 20th June 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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