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University of Central Lancashire recognised for welcoming people seeking sanctuary

Posted on - 21st June, 2024 - 1:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Politics, Preston News, UCLan, University campus
Members of Preston City of Sanctuary and the University of Central Lancashire, from l-r Jeff Morgan, Mary Shannon, Dawn Judd, Professor Graham Baldwin, Dr Peggy Mulongo and Suely Ludgero-Newlove..

The University of Central Lancashire has been recognised for welcoming those who are seeking sanctuary.

The institution has been awarded University of Sanctuary status during Refugee Week for creating a culture of welcoming people seeking sanctuary.

Awarded by the City of Sanctuary UK, the initiative recognises and celebrates the good practices of universities welcoming people seeking sanctuary through facilitated access to higher education, supporting local refugee communities and taking a role in learning about the issues faced by this group in pursuing university level education. 

Read more: Refugee football team recruits three members from Preston’s Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre

The university created the Sanctuary Scholarship which supports forced migrants who are not eligible for student finance to access higher education.

This is done by waiving all tuition fees for one undergraduate student per year and providing a support package up to the value of £5,000 a year.

Professor Graham Baldwin, University of Central Lancashire Vice-Chancellor, said: “I’m delighted we have been awarded University of Sanctuary status. It is fantastic recognition for the work we have done to actively support people who face barriers in accessing higher education.

“We’ve taken clear steps towards creating an environment that is welcoming to all, in a way that directly contributes to increasing inclusivity, and we have developed teaching and learning opportunities on the themes of migration and sanctuary.

“In addition, we have become a part of a dynamic group of universities working to improve the culture of sanctuary in higher education and in society generally.

“Our commitment to widening participation is ingrained in everything we do at the University, with helping people in need being a theme that has run throughout our history, so the University of Sanctuary status is confirmation of all that effort.”

Read more: Ukrainian refugees living in Preston express their emotions during an artwork project at UCLan

The City of Sanctuary UK is a national organisation but it has a local branch, called the Preston City of Sanctuary.

It coordinates, supports and grows a network of organisations and people supporting a culture of welcome.

It works with community groups, schools, universities, local councils, libraries and theatres, to encourage inclusivity, solidarity and compassion for people from a forced displacement background.

Dawn Judd, Chair of Preston City of Sanctuary, presented the award to Professor Baldwin and lecturer Dr Peggy Mulongo at the Harmony in Diversity: Celebrating Refugee Contributions – Our Home, Our Unity event.

Dawn said: “Preston City of Sanctuary is delighted to endorse the award of University of Sanctuary to the University of Central Lancashire.

“The University has a long and productive relationship with Preston City of Sanctuary. It has been proactive in establishing its English for Speakers of Other Languages provision for sanctuary seekers.

“The development of the Sanctuary Scholarship is most welcome. The University is commended for working closely with Preston City of Sanctuary to ensure that information about the scholarships is readily accessible to sanctuary seekers. Those who seek sanctuary in our city bring enormous talent and drive, often they are actually seeking sanctuary to ensure that they can fulfil their educational aspirations, or those of their children.

“To be able to access this within the safety and security of a university that has achieved the award of University of Sanctuary brings an added dimension to the lives of many sanctuary seekers. To this end the award is a fitting and well-deserved reflection of the commitment and foresight of a progressive and supportive higher education establishment embedded within our local community.”

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