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Eastleigh College signs 'City of Sanctuary’ pledge and seeks Sanctuary College status

Following unanimous Board support, the support of colleagues and UCU branch members, Eastleigh College has today signed the ‘City of Sanctuary’ pledge. In addition, the College has begun the application process to achieve ‘Sanctuary College’ status.

Eastleigh College has a rich heritage of working with sanctuary seekers, both those aged 16-19 and adult learners. Dedicated provision for 16-19 aged sanctuary learners exists through the College’s Skills for Living in the UK programme (SLUKY). Upon successful completion the SLUKY course equips learners with the tools to begin studying any of our technical and professional courses. Through our ESOL and Community Learning provisions, adult sanctuary learners have access to resources that can grow their confidence, support their preparedness for further study at the College (or University) and connect them with a wide range of support services. Our SLUKY provision has proven to be an excellent foundation for academic excellence - for example we are very proud of our alumnus Djoulde Bah who at the culmination of his educational journey achieved a First-Class Honours degree in Building Services Engineering.

Over the past 18 months this strong heritage has been further enhanced. For example, we have grown our network of public and third sector organisations with whom we work. This has seen us rapidly integrate several 16-19 aged learners from Afghanistan, Iran and Ethiopia into our SLUKY provision. These learners have quickly become established members of the College community and are growing in confidence and skills. In addition, we have sought to strengthen our values-based approach by working with the National Centre for Diversity (NCFD). We are now going through the final assessment stages with regards to hopefully achieving Investors in Diversity (IiD) status. May 2021 also saw the College recognised as being in the top 50 most inclusive workplaces in 2021.

Sanctuary College status is a national award that acknowledges the efforts of further education institutions to foster a culture of welcome, inclusion and safety for those seeking sanctuary, whether they be refugees or asylum seekers. Potentially acquiring this accreditation would see Eastleigh College become one of only seven FE colleges nationwide to currently hold this status.

Sara Trewhitt, Director of Operations at City of Sanctuary UK, said: “For those seeking sanctuary, the experience they have on campus will shape their futures in their new country, receiving thoughtful support and attention is crucial to ensuring learners from a disadvantaged background can learn and achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Paul Cox, Chief Executive of Eastleigh College, said: “Sadly, at any moment there are individuals, families and communities being displaced by war and conflict. Now we are witnessing a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. We want to ensure that the people of Ukraine who arrive in Hampshire know that we are a safe, welcoming, and skilled organisation that can support them with regards to their education and training with community connections that can also support their integration. As a key anchor institution in the South Hampshire and Solent region we will make every contribution that we can.”

For a full list of ways in which you can personally support the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis, please click here.

Please contact for any further information.