My placement was completed with Manchester City of Sanctuary, a charity that helps asylum seekers and refugees across the Greater Manchester region, in the hope that Manchester can become a city of sanctuary for those in need. During my time with the charity I was primarily responsible for delivering a new wellbeing programme and the online presence of the organisation.

Within the wellbeing programme, I was informed that I would be introducing and delivering what was referred to as the “Health and Wellbeing Pass,” which was a pocket-size booklet, that allowed service users to record their experiences in relation to the five steps to wellbeing as suggested by government guidelines. This programme was an essential step for Manchester City of Sanctuary as mental health was described as the biggest problem outside of immigration and status issues for the refugees and asylum seekers the charity encountered. Throughout my time with the charity we were able to sign up at least 70 participants to the programme, which led me to be able to facilitate some sessions surrounding wellbeing, including one session in collaboration with CultureLabs and the People’s History Museum.

Also, my time with Manchester City of Sanctuary involved planning and delivering a new style of quarterly event for the charity called The Big Conversation. This event intended to bring people together across Greater Manchester, from the general public to public figures to asylum seekers and refugees, in order to foster a sense of cohesion across the city whilst providing fun, food and friendship. Through planning and delivering this event I was able to expand my knowledge of the charity sector in relation to refugees and asylum seekers, as well as develop knowledge of how to plan and host an event for the general public.

Manchester City of Sanctuary also provided me with the opportunity to maintain their online presence, which allowed me to implement changes in the hope of boosting their presence and attracting new potential supporters. Therefore, I focused on ensuring that the organisation’s aims and strategies were clearly signposted on their social media and website, as well as establishing a sense of consistency across their online platforms. Towards the end of the placement, I was also able to create posters and advertisements for events held by the charity.

Overall, my placement with Manchester City of Sanctuary provided me with experiential knowledge of the charity sector, social media management and events management. From implementing a wellbeing programme, I was able to discover the issues that refugees and asylum seekers face in their lives, whilst gaining an idea of how these issues can be addressed with basic techniques for mental wellbeing. My placement also provided me with the opportunity to understand techniques for non-profit organisation fundraising and social media management. Also, I was able to gain experiential knowledge of events planning and management which I will be able to apply to many possible future job roles. However, most importantly it demonstrated that despite learning new skills to benefit myself, I could also make a small difference in the lives of people in need.

Manchester City Of Sanctuary
Manchester City Of Sanctuary (Photo: Michael Carter)
Michael Carter is an MA student in English Literature.