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Please revisit this page which is regularly updated.

Many City of Sanctuary volunteers are self-isolating, which can be difficult and people seeking sanctuary are particularly vulnerable to isolation, loneliness, depression and vulnerability.  Lack of internet access and TV is a particular challenge for those stuck in asylum accommodation on meagre asylum support.  Please continue to send us your ideas and practice on how CoS groups remain connected with each other including people seeking sanctuary as we socially distance and remain under pandemic restrictions.

It’s understandable to feel worried at this time. But it’s important not to let our mental health suffer. Fortunately, there are some simple things which we can do to help ourselves and others stay healthy and well. 

Our maxim has always been: First take sanctuary for yourself.  

Keeping Healthy

Public Health England have produced an easy to read pictorial document on Looking after your feelings and your body during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) which is worth sharing. 

Doctors of the World, in partnership with Thrive LDN, has produced wellbeing guidance to support migrant communities during COVID-19: “Six ways to improve your wellbeing”,  available in 27 languages: English, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Dari, Farsi, Filipino, French, Hindi, Kurdish, Malayalam, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi India, Punjabi Pakistan, Romanian, Simplified Chinese, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese.

 University of Sheffield have produced an illustrated guide about Covid-19 for separated children and young people: How can we reduce loneliness among migrant and ethnic minority people? 

Audio mental health resources – Touchstone / IAPT have created an online audio resource in Iranian/ Farsi/ Persian to support mental health and wellbeing. The audios include muscular techniques and grounding techniques and many more. 

Two recent videos on Anxiety and Stress in Urdu and Hindi including coping strategies. 

 The Mental Health Foundation has translated its resources on Covid-19 and mental health into Welsh, Arabic, Tigrinya, Farsi, Somali, French and Urdu.

Coping strategies for anxious times – Bristol City Council, NHS and Traumatic Stress Services have produced guidance on coping strategies for anxious times during the coronavirus outbreak in 15 different languages. These include English , French , Pashto , Somali , Albanian , Arabic , Bengali , Mandarin , Polish , Romanian , Farsi ,Tigrinya , Turkish , Urdu and Sorani .

The Recovery and Wellbeing Academy have created a page of online videos and workshops to help manage emotional and mental health during COVID 19.

Get support if you need it. The Every Mind Matters website has all the information you need, from advice to support helplines

 Self-isolation can be a frustrating and lonely time. For tips on how to  manage any stress or anxiety that you may be feeling right now, visit the MIND website

Coronavirus: Guidance for Better Mental Health is relevant to all about guarding mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic from Rehab 4 Addiction

 Stay active! Short on time? Here are some handy 10-minute exercises from the NHS

 Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media. If you can, avoid reading, or posting, speculation. The most up-to-date and reliable sources of information are from the NHS and the government

 Take some time to clear your head. Why not try some free Headspace mindfulness meditations? Check out and share Mindfulness in Arabic -a free free online, and it’s also available (and all the info about it) in English. 

There are still lots of ways to keep in touch: pick up the phone, log onto WhatsApp/Skype, and connect with others. Remember, it’s always good to stay connected.

Instead of the news

Other resources for relaxation 

Citizens of the World, welcome refugee singers to join them online for rehearsal on Wednesday. Their Big Sings every Friday night at 7.30 include professional performers who are interviewed and perform live with the choir, before opening for a big public singalong which anyone can join. If you want to join in, email [email protected]

London Migration Film Festival has made its best films from past festivals available for free on its website. 

Visit museums from around the world for free.  Click here. 

Cambridge Publishing, UK, offers 700 online reading editions of their books. The free reading period is until the end of May, and includes some Christian and theological works.  

Free Online Broadway Musicals. 

Free full length plays from the National Theatre every Thursday. 

Amazon Global Audiobooks: Audible Stories is freely available for children who are temporarily unable to go to school around the world.  Content ranging from preschool to classic literature, no download of apps, no login required, no ads, with languages like English/German/French/Italian/Japanese.

Duolingo is a free language-learning app for your phone.  Bite-sized lessons are fun and effective.

Right to Remain have launched their asylum navigation board. This online tool helps people understand the UK asylum process, raises awareness of common problems people face as they navigate the process, and shares survival strategies.  Supporters might wish to share this. 

Sanctuary resources for kids during school closures

With school closures across the UK and Ireland, children will be spending a lot of time at home. We are trying to gather resources which are about sanctuary for ourselves as well as learning about sanctuary for others. Please share any suggested activities via [email protected] and we will add them to this list.

The Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families has a coronavirus page with advice videos for children and young people and parents and carers. They also have a self-help activities section with an A-Z of activities

Cosmic Kids – yoga and mindfulness for kids

Go Noodle – movement and mindfulness videos

Childline Calm Zone has games and activities plus yoga and breathing exercises

Kooth offers online support and counselling to young people and The Mix offers support for under 25s including a phone line, 1 to 1 chat and messenger.

Share a story – have a look at the book lists on our Arts site or visit the International Children’s Digital Library which has free ebooks from around the world in multiple languages. World Book Reader also has made a large range of ebooks free to access.

Museums around the world are offering virtual tours – maybe choose an object and think about its journey through history and across the world

Learn about a different country or culture – make a fact file, create an art project, watch some cooking or music videos to get a sense of that culture eg. Eritrean, Kurdish, Nigerian

The Traces Project has a range of different activities for different age groups, many of which can be done at home eg. the first visual arts activity is to draw pictures of your favourite things eg. favourite food, favourite book etc and then make a portrait of yourself using them as parts of the body

Education.com and Twinkl offer a range of educational resources including printable worksheets (enter the code UKTWINKLHELPS on the page www.twinkl.co.uk/offer to access premium content free for one month)

Save the Children Creative Play toolkit

Global Dimension library of resources

The Resilience Learning Partnership are distributing “Crafty Kids Survival Boxes” in Scotland – a great resource for families seeking sanctuary. . 

Check in on your friends via phone / Whatsapp – a video call can make a big difference to someone’s day

Make a rainbow picture and put it in your window to make your neighbours smile!

Parenting resource
The Parenting for Lifelong Health project has produced a resource on parenting during the Covid-19 pandemic, aimed at supporting some of the most vulnerable families during this crisis. The resource is available in over 50 languages at covid19parenting.com