Ipswich: Borough set to become “Town of Sanctuary”

A BID to establish the area as a “Town of Sanctuary” for asylum seekers is to be made at next week’s borough council meeting.

The move would mark the fact that the town is one of the government’s settlement areas for asylum seekers – and would aim at encouraging local people to take a tolerant attitude to those who have recently moved to the country.

The proposal is being backed by the borough spokesman for a fairer Ipswich Sandy Martin.

He said the proposal was not an invitation to asylum seekers to come to Ipswich – the town is one of a number of communities across the country that is allocated asylum seekers by the Border Agency.

Mr Martin said: “We have asylum seekers in the town – this is an attempt to make residents aware of that and to encourage everyone to understand the difficulties they face.

“It is also an attempt to ensure that asylum seekers and refugees can get decent housing and that their life is as easy as it can be – they don’t choose to live in Ipswich, they are allocated to Ipswich by the government and it is important that people understand that.”

The proposal is that the borough will take four steps to improve life for refugees while staying within its existing budget:

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Seek to be a welcoming town for refugees and those seeking sanctuary.

Co-operate with Ipswich Town of Sanctuary movement to help develop policies to support sanctuary seekers

Work with its staff to ensure that they understand the needs of those seeking sanctuary and are able to challenge misinformation in the wider community.

Look to promote ways of valuing sanctuary seekers through the offering of volunteer opportunities.

Should Ipswich become a Town of Sanctuary? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk