Sheffield Hallam University has been named a University of Sanctuary in recognition of its outstanding support for refugees and people seeking sanctuary across all areas of higher education.

The news comes as the University marks Refugee Week 2021, a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

The University of Sanctuary accreditation, given by the charity City of Sanctuary, recognises and celebrates the good practice of universities welcoming sanctuary seekers into their communities and fostering a culture of welcome and inclusion for all.

The accreditation panel were especially impressed by the work of the Refugee Rights Hub, based within the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice.

The Refugee Rights Hub trains undergraduate and postgraduate students to work alongside immigration and asylum specialists, helping refugees navigate the complex processes and procedures for making family reunification applications.

Since it began in 2018, the hub has now supported well over 150 family members from all over the world in making applications to join loved ones in the UK.

Support is also provided for those who are seeking asylum or hold refugee status and want to apply for a place at Sheffield Hallam through the SHU Progress scheme.

SHU Progress provides support for applicants whose personal circumstances might mean that there are barriers to going to university, including those from a refugee or an asylum-seeking background.

This could include exclusive and personal visits to the university to meet current students and staff, support with the costs of visiting the university for our events and open days and help with making an application, including access to workshops on preparing for interviews.

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University said: “The accreditation of Sheffield Hallam as a University of Sanctuary is a wonderful achievement and demonstrates the crucial role universities have to play in extending opportunities and helping those displaced from their homes to rebuild their lives.”

Krassimira Teneva, co-lead of the migration, refuge and the university Hallam Guild group at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “I am delighted that Sheffield Hallam University has been accredited as a University of Sanctuary, confirming our status as a welcoming and inclusive institution within Sheffield – the original City of Sanctuary.

“We recognise the contribution of asylum-seekers and refugees to the city, and we will continue to welcome those seeking sanctuary into our diverse and supportive university community.”

Maryam Taher, Universities of Sanctuary Coordinator at City of Sanctuary said: “We are delighted that Sheffield Hallam University is joining the University of Sanctuary network.

“This award is an extension of their excellent provisions for students of sanctuary backgrounds to safely access higher education. The University-wide understanding of seeking sanctuary and the processes in place to support them were joined-up and embedded.”