Leicester Museum and Art Gallery has become one of only five museums in the UK to win an award for welcoming people who arrive in the city seeking refuge.
The museum, in New Walk, has won a prestigious Museum of Sanctuary award for the work it does to extend a warm welcome to people of all backgrounds who have arrived in Leicester fleeing violence or persecution.
The award has been granted by the national charity City of Sanctuary UK, which works to promote the UK as a welcoming place of safety for all.
It recognises the commitment the city council’s museums and galleries service has made to ensuring access to the city’s museums for everyone who lives in Leicester, including new arrivals, asylum seekers and refugees.
Deputy city mayor for culture Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “We have worked closely with many local organisations that help refugees and asylum seekers, delivering a wide range of projects to celebrate their contribution to Leicester and challenge myths.
“Our museums are National Portfolio Organisations, which means we receive Arts Council England funding. This assists with our ongoing ‘Welcoming Museums’ project, and allows us to work with local people to create exhibitions such as ‘Sanctuary Birds’, where refugees, asylum seekers and members of Leicester City of Sanctuary created artwork representing birds flying to freedom.
“It also helps us to stage an annual programme of events for Refugee Week, co-produced by our local refugee and asylum seeker communities. These initiatives support our wider aim of increasing the diversity of museum audiences in Leicester.”
City of Sanctuary UK supports a network of groups in villages, towns, cities and regions across the UK to engage in practical activity and advocacy which helps to welcome people seeking sanctuary.
Leicester Museum and Art Gallery’s application for the award was rigorously evaluated by the local Leicester City of Sanctuary accreditation panel.
Shali Bullough from Leicester City of Sanctuary said: "We are absolutely delighted that Leicester Museum and Art Gallery has been recognised with this Sanctuary Award.
“We have organised activities with the museum for many years, and we know how much our group enjoys our visits there. It gives them confidence to take their families there independently and to benefit from the many exciting opportunities provided by the museums service in our city."
A future celebration event - at which the award will be presented formally by local Leicester City of Sanctuary trustees - is being planned for when circumstances allow.
Notes to Editors
Leicester City of Sanctuary offers a range of services to asylum seekers and refugees in the city. Their central hub provides a welcome, support services and a hot meal, plus activities such as ESOL classes, football sessions, sewing and IT skills. https://leicester.cityofsanctuary.org/