Partnership with Sanctuary in Chichester supports mental health for refugees and asylum seekers

June 2023

This Refugee Week, West Sussex Mind and Sanctuary in Chichester are delighted to announce their partnership to bring mental health conversations, awareness and support to local refugees and asylum seekers

We are excited to announce our partnership with Sanctuary in Chichester working with the refugees and asylum seekers it supports in West Sussex. Our charity will work alongside Sanctuary in Chichester over the next year to open up conversations around mental health and to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers can access the support they may need in the local community.

Sanctuary in Chichester offers a welcoming environment for refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom are from Syria, Afghanistan and Iran, and runs a range of activities and services, including a weekly drop-in, befriending, English tutoring and assistance with looking for work and finding school places.

The two charities will recruit a refugee support worker to attend Sanctuary’s drop-ins and other groups – with the aim of opening up conversations around mental health and emotional well-being and helping people to navigate support services. These activities will be supported by Sanctuary’s skilled interpreters.

West Sussex Mind will also support Sanctuary in Chichester staff and volunteers with training in mental health awareness and emotional resilience.

Kate Scales acting deputy CEO of West Sussex Mind said: “We are delighted to partner with Sanctuary in Chichester to help them support refugees and asylum seekers, who often arrive in the area in great need and having suffered devastating trauma. This partnership builds on our experience supporting Ukrainian refugee communities fleeing the Russian war in Ukraine and we’re proud to extend our expertise and learning to help more refugees and asylum seekers to thrive and get the support they need locally.”

Steve Lebbon, charity manager of Sanctuary in Chichester, said: "This is a great opportunity for us to give refugees and asylum seekers help and encouragement to cope with the horrendous trauma many of them have been through. The partnership will also strengthen our work with Ukrainian refugees and support our volunteers by giving them guidance on dealing with these types of trauma."