Speak or Translate me - Click here to activate screen reader, translation and accessibility tools

A Borough of Sanctuary

To show our dedication to our migrant communities, we have begun the journey to become a Borough of Sanctuary.

Last updated: 12 December 2022

Next review: 8 December 2023

We are proud of the diversity within our borough and have a history of being a welcoming place for people from all over the world who want to make Waltham Forest their home.

We aim to create a safe environment for everyone in Waltham Forest and have been working hard with our partners to support refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

To show our dedication to our migrant communities, we have begun the journey to become a Borough of Sanctuary that will build on the support we’ve given so far, which includes:

  • Hosted 346 people escaping the war in Ukraine
  • Provided wraparound support to 400 asylum seekers in contingency accommodation including financial, food and clothing
  • Resettled 13 refugee families through the UK Resettlement and Afghan Resettlement pledge
  • Provided over 3,000 people with holistic support including English lessons, social integration, volunteering, and employment
  • We are also currently supporting 66 unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking children.
  • Challenged Central Government policy

What is a Borough of Sanctuary

The Council, in coalition with statutory and community partners and people with lived experience, is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all seeking sanctuary here.

We will work together to create a local framework of welcome. Through city of sanctuary it is possible to gain a ‘Borough of Sanctuary’ award. City of sanctuary works organisations to encourage inclusivity, solidarity, and compassion for people from a forced displacement background.

To become a Borough of Sanctuary you must commit to and demonstrate the City of Sanctuary’s Values:

  • Inclusive
  • Openness
  • Participation
  • Inspire
  • Integrity

We believe our work strongly displays these values already but want to go above and beyond what is required.

Our aims and ambitions in becoming a Borough of Sanctuary


We will hold the government and their partners to account, to provide good standards of safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults in contingency accommodation.

Migrant led services

We will grow our migrant support network and create opportunities for people with lived experiences to lead on service support.

Story telling

We will tell resident stories that will share lived experience and challenges that migrants face, but also share the brilliant work and community support they bring to the borough.

Supporting schools

We will work with school to help build on their outstanding work to help education settings to become schools of sanctuary.


We will continue to call out and challenge the current government’s hostile environment towards migrants.