Swansea University honoured with award for helping sanctuary seekers

The Department of Adult Continuing Education (DACE) at Swansea University has been recognised with an award for its historic and ongoing awareness raising activities to help sanctuary seekers in the Swansea Bay region.

Historically DACE has been very committed to supporting sanctuary seekers and has previously secured EU funding which resulted in the very successful projects called:

  • Patchwork Project
  • New Arrivals
  • Parenting in a Multicultural European City
  • Community Progression Project with a dedicated worker focussing on the BME community

All of these projects have greatly benefited sanctuary seekers.

DACE continues to welcome sanctuary seekers and staff have attended sanctuary seekers drop-in centres to inform them of the short courses that are on offer resulting in many sanctuary seekers undertaking short accredited courses. Through directly engaging with sanctuary seekers, DACE has identified where it can provide further educational support.

In particular, DACE identified that more support is required with literacy skills and has responded by developing a new module which is specifically aimed at addressing this. DACE is currently piloting a new module ‘Academic Writing Skills for those with English as a Second Language’. This is designed to build on literacy and essay writing which will enhance student’s skills, prepare them for academic writing and help them access higher education. The course is offered at Llwyn Y Bryn campus of Gower College as many sanctuary seekers are already familiar with this site therefore making access easier.

DACE has also organised sessions for sanctuary seekers with the department’s impartial careers and educational advice and guidance officer so that they can be made aware of the range of education and career opportunities available. This is ongoing and there are plans for DACE to set up a careers guidance session at one of the sanctuary seeker’s drop in centres.

DACE has recently provided a poster presentation for the Children Displaced Across Borders conference organised by Dr Jane Williams from the School of Law and Criminology in conjunction with Houston University and Bangor University with the view to increasing the support and educational opportunities for sanctuary seekers within the university.

The Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People at the College of Law and Criminology was thrilled to have won its own Swansea Sanctuary Award for its work with asylum seekers and refugees.

Welcoming the award Dr Penny Sartori, Community Development Worker, DACE said:

“ Swansea University is proud to be a supporter of Swansea’s City of Sanctuary. It is wonderful news that DACE has won an award for its engagement with Swansea City of Sanctuary. Swansea University is a pledged supporter of the Sanctuary and its aims. Our staff regularly attend events in the community (often out of office hours) to learn more about sanctuary seekers and to keep updated with latest events, programmes etc.

DACE City of Sanctuary Award

“ The award was presented to DACE by Carolyn Harris MP who actually started off her adult education by studying a foundation course at DACE in 1994 after which she studied for a degree in Social History and Social Policy at the College of Arts and Humanities, Swansea University before progressing to her employment as a minister. Carolyn was another student success from DACE and has agreed to come to visit DACE again in the near future.”

“ Also Sanctuary seekers who have previously studied with DACE have achieved great success with both our accredited course programme and our part-time degree programme. Stephanie Kays, one of our Swansea University graduates, has  progressed to a Masters degrees and she is now working for City of Sanctuary. “  


Swansea became the UK’s second official City of Sanctuary in May 2010. It formally adopted its constitution in February 2012.

City of Sanctuary is a national movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution.

Swansea has offered a home to people who have lost their homes and families and we wish to celebrate the welcoming attitudes of Swansea people and organisations.

City of Sanctuary support can include community centres, charities, social clubs, schools, local services and businesses, as well as refugee organizations and volunteers. Supporting organisations promise to welcome and include people seeking sanctuary in their activities.

Sanctuary Awards recognise the fantastic work which pledged organisations do to make Swansea a City of Sanctuary. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many and varied contributions to this movement.

For more information about Swansea City of Sanctuary Awards go to https://swansea.cityofsanctuary.org/2016/12/19/swansea-sanctuary-awards-2017

For more information about the Department of Adult Continuing Education (DACE), Swansea University go to http://www.swansea.ac.uk/dace/

Picture: Carolyn Harris MP (left) presenting the City of Sanctuary Award to Dr Penny Sartori, Community Development Worker, Department of Adult Continuing Education (DACE), Swansea University