On November 29, during an Asylum and Refugee training session, the Monmouthshire County Council recognised the Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary Group for their dedicated work in welcoming and engaging with refugees and asylum seekers in Monmouthshire since 2016.

The Group aims to help asylum seekers settle and rebuild their lives by providing assistance and welcome in Abergavenny and the surrounding areas.

MCC is just starting its journey towards becoming a County of Sanctuary, and they have set several goals to support sanctuary seekers and refugees.

These goals include:

  • Working in partnership with the Wales Refugee Council and other relevant organisations to provide information to new arriving sanctuary seekers.
  • Improving access and awareness of all the council's and partners' offers.
  • Improving culture awareness training via the Monmouthshire Local Safeguarding network.
  • Raising awareness of additional barriers.
  • Improving awareness of asylum seekers and refugee issues within Early Years and Youth settings.
  • Ensuring that people are communicated within different languages.

A spokesperson from MCC said: "Monmouthshire County Council is proud to support people seeking sanctuary in our county through various schemes. These include the Refugee Resettlement Scheme (since 2016), Asylum dispersal, Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy, and City of Sanctuary.

"Since 2016, the council has been working with the UK Government to offer resettlement support to Afghan locals who assisted the British Army."

Thanks to the Refugee Resettlement Scheme, 51 individuals have settled in Monmouthshire since 2016. However, this work would not be possible without the help of local communities who provide a location for people when they need it the most.

Monmouthshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement, Cllr Angela Sandles, said: "I would like to thank all residents of Monmouthshire for their never-ending assistance when people need help. Across the county, you've constantly shown a willingness to help people when they need it the most. It was fantastic to recognise the tireless work that Abergavenny Town of Sanctuary Group does in Abergavenny and across the county. Thank you to all the group members."