Newcastle College has pledged to welcome refugees and people seeking asylum to the North East, joining a North East coalition of schools, colleges and universities in support of Newcastle: City of Sanctuary.  

Newcastle is a recognised City of Sanctuary; part of a network of towns and cities throughout the country that are proud to be places of safety, and to support those seeking sanctuary to integrate fully into the community. 

This month, Newcastle College joined the City of Sanctuary’s growing list of supporting organisations, signing a pledge in support of the vision that the UK will be a welcoming place of safety for all and proud to offer sanctuary to people fleeing violence and persecution.  

Scott Bullock, Principal of Newcastle College, commented: “We consider Newcastle College to be at the heart of our community and we have a vital role to play in ensuring that community is a welcoming, inclusive and compassionate place for everyone. 

“Colleges like ours exist to create life-changing opportunities and I am proud to sign this pledge and support the work that Newcastle: City of Sanctuary is doing to help make Newcastle a real home to those fleeing violence and persecution.” 

Newcastle College currently supports over 1,000 learners on its ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision, many of whom came to the UK as refugees or asylum seekers. It offers a range of support initiatives for them, including a free travel pass, meetings with the Job Centre and access to JET (a local charity helping migrants to write a CV) and Your Homes (the social housing operator in Newcastle).   

Many are also able to access additional support through NCG’s Our Community is Your Community programme, which aims to help student refugees overcome barriers they face when arriving and learning in a new culture and society through strands of activity: language, building social bonds and connections, employability, refugee entrepreneurship, and health and wellbeing. The programme is led by Project Coordinator Shivan Mirza, who has been a refugee twice in his life. 

Colleagues across the College have also arranged donations of items for those arriving in the country without some essential items, including winter clothing.