Skip to content
Information icon


Here are our commitments - from January 2024 for the next three years - to making Islington the most welcome place for refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers.

These are our main goals and commitments over the next three years as a Borough of Sanctuary.

Capacity building

Focus on how well services are delivering in the areas of health, immigration advice, education, employment and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

  • We will set up specific working groups who will review Islington's current health, immigration advice, education, employment and ESOL offers by mapping out what is currently on offer and where the gaps lie.
  • We will examine which services are unable to meet demand, why we think this is and what other models could we replicate to ensure residents receive the support they need.
  • As we consider new service models, we’ll consult with partners and agree a way forward to improve service delivery.
  • We've set aside funds to assist with this service design and hope that through this work we will be able to build capacity across the borough that will facilitate better support for residents.


Increase the knowledge of all council staff, community partners and residents so that everyone is aware of issues facing the refugee, migrant and asylum-seeking community and that those in front-facing roles, know how best to support residents.

  • We will develop an internal training course to help staff to understand the needs, rights and entitlements of migrants, refugees and asylum-seeking residents. We'll invite those with lived experience to help us design this training and we will reimburse them for their time and expertise.
  • To upskill council staff further, we'll hold an annual staff Lunch and Learn event to increase staff's understanding of the council's role in supporting this community. Sessions with community partners will also be offered so that groups are aware of the council’s work and how to refer to appropriate services. Through this training we hope to share knowledge around the borough on how best to support our residents from refugee, migrant and asylum-seeking backgrounds.
  • To increase the knowledge of the host community and all residents across the borough, we’ll be sharing more stories across the council’s range of media channels.


Make sure residents can access the information and help they need at a convenient time for them, using language they understand and ensuring easy access to an interpreter when engaging with council services.

  • We will review how we communicate with residents – in our documents, on our website, through our Islington directory and in person.
  • We'll investigate which council services are offering interpreters, how often they are being used and that residents know how and when they can ask for one.
  • We will look at ways of supporting digital literacy to empower residents to assert their right to services.


Work in partnership more with local voluntary and charity organisations, giving these groups the chance to hold the council and its services to account and to have more influence in service design.

  • The council will work in partnership with local organisations to ensure more regular dialogue happens between local groups and the council.
  • We will consult with partners in early 2024 to understand more about what types of communication they want more of. For example, this collaboration could be in the form of workshops, meetings and more events throughout the year.
  • Groups will also be updated throughout the year with the establishment of a new regular bulletin.


Increase our residents sense of connectedness to the borough and share decision-making power with residents with lived experience of seeking sanctuary.

  • In 2024 we will launch Islington’s Sanctuary Grant Programme. This will be a funding pot for local projects that aim to support refugees, migrants and residents seeking asylum in the borough.
  • We'll be using a participatory budget approach - which aims to put power at the heart of our communities. The council will invite people with lived experience of seeking sanctuary to help decide what areas of priority need more funding and how the funding should be spent - giving them a role in transforming the issues that are most impacting their lives.
  • This funding pot will benefit residents of all ages and give residents the chance to come together to enjoy activities, events and increase feelings of belonging, welcome and inclusion in our borough.

Who will help us meet these commitments

We have started a Sanctuary Steering Group who will provide strategic direction and ensure that we deliver on the priorities and commitments of our three-year strategy. The steering group meets every quarter and is chaired by Councillor Roulin Khondoker, our Executive Member for Equalities, Culture and Inclusion. Representatives from local charities, experts by experience, councillors and staff sit on this group.  

Experts by experience

An expert by experience is a person with direct, first-hand experience of issues and challenges of the UK immigration system. They will use their experience and advocate for the needs, challenges, and injustices that many residents face in the hostile environment of the immigration system. Experts by experience will sit on the group for one year, with an opportunity for new members to join the following year to ensure that a range of voices are heard.

If you would like to be an expert by experience on our Sanctuary Steering Group, please email us at

Local charities

Local charities will sit on the steering group for one year, with an opportunity for new members to join the following year and to ensure a variety of organisations are represented.

For the first year these charities will be part of the steering group:

  • Islington Refugee and Migrant Forum
  • Islington Faiths Forum
  • Refugee and Migrant Forum Of Essex & London (RAMFEL).

In the second and third years, we are delighted that these charities will join the steering group:

  • Cripplegate
  • Health Prom
  • Mamasuze
  • Manor Gardens
  • Together Productions
  • Union Chapel.

If you would like to sit on the Sanctuary Steering Group in future years, please email us at

Council staff

Staff from across the council will sit on the steering group including from these departments:

  • Housing
  • Safeguarding and Family Support
  • Community Wealth Building
  • Public Health
  • Adult Social Care
  • Resident Experience teams
  • Adult Community Learning
  • NRPF, Refugee and Migrant Service.   
Was this information helpful?

Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.