Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram welcomed guests to a celebration event on 28 February to mark the achievement of Wirral Met’s College officially becoming a College of Sanctuary.
Wirral Met College is the first college in the Liverpool City Region to be awarded College of Sanctuary; an award that recognises colleges that have gone above and beyond to support refugees and asylum seekers, as well as helping to raise awareness about the importance of providing a safe and welcoming learning environment to help them settle in their new home.
At the event with English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), partners who have contributed to the gaining of this status were thanked for their continued commitment to support some of the borough’s most vulnerable learners. These included Northwest College of Sanctuary Trustees, Age UK Wirral, Mind Clarity Wirral, LFC Foundation, Hi Impact Consultancy, Wirral Change, Port Sunlight Crown Green Bowling and Neston Strummers.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “For centuries our area has acted as a sanctuary to those in search of a better life. If the Liverpool City Region has stood for anything, it is a fresh start – and it is a legacy that we are proud to be continuing today.
“Our Test and Learn initiative has supported hundreds of adult residents to develop the skills and learning they need to equip them for work, training or education by placing students into real life situations rather than the classroom. Congratulations to Wirral Met on being the first college in the region to be awarded College of Sanctuary - think of it as radical kindness – it is our area showing that by treating people with compassion, as human beings, we can achieve much better results.”
Sue Higginson, Principal and CEO of Wirral Met College said: "The greatest thing we can do for any student is to provide them with a safe and welcoming place where they can learn and develop. Our ESOL students, most of whom are refugees and/or asylum seekers, are a joy to teach and support. They enrich our college community through the diversity they bring and through that we speak over 40 different first languages at Wirral Met.
"It’s not just about developing language skills, it’s also about skills for work, for example, over 100 of our students are from Ukraine and they are working with Liverpool City Region to contribute to Liverpool hosting the Eurovision event. We are very proud of this award and I am most grateful to our fantastic ESOL team for achieving this for us and for the work they do every day to make a difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Jeff Morgan, Northwest College of Sanctuary UK Trustee and former Regional Coordinator for College of Sanctuary, said: "I was very impressed by the award submission by Wirral Met. One of the principals of College of Sanctuary is to give those seeking sanctuary every chance to be part of the decision making process of the institution and British life they join.
"So I am glad that this college has become a beacon of welcome, which is what this award is about - giving a warm welcome, helping individuals to reach their full potential despite obstacles of settling in a new country with a new language and all the challenges that entails."
For more information about our College of Sanctuary status visit wmc.ac.uk/collegeofsanctuary.
For more information about our English for Speakers of Other Languages click here.