Solent University has been recognised for its commitment to supporting refugees and asylum seekers with a new title.

Awarded by City of Sanctuary, a national charity dedicated to welcoming displaced people to the UK, Solent has become a University of Sanctuary.

Solent is one of 34 universities to receive this status, recognising their outreach in Southampton’s diverse communities and support for sanctuary seekers.

As a University of Sanctuary, Solent has been recognised for making sure the campus, curriculum and community is a safe and empowering place for displaced people and promoting allyship and solidarity. The University’s Communities Development team leads this work.

The university also offers an annual Sanctuary Scholarship that covers course fees and provides a £3,000 grant to displaced people.

Solent will continue to expand their work in this area, supporting Solent Students’ Union to develop a STAR (Student Action For Refugees) group, delivering annual training for staff and students to enhance their knowledge of the challenges people fleeing their homes face, and continue working in the city to reach and support more communities.

In 2023, the University launched the Southampton Sanctuary Network with Southampton City Council and City Life Church. The network connects organisations across the city to share best practice into how best to support refugees and asylum seekers, making the city a place of safety for displaced people.

It works closely with City Life Church’s CLEAR project, as well as Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group, on activities to enhance the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor James Knowles, says: “Inclusion is one of our core purposes as a university, and cultivating a culture of welcome is integral to our ethos.

“We are keen to drive this important work forward, in collaboration with other organisations through the Southampton Sanctuary Network, and we call on others who are keen to support those displaced by persecution, war, natural disasters, and other events beyond their control, to join in.”