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Schools of Sanctuary Refugee Week BIG Fundraiser

Refugee Week is an annual celebration of the contributions, creativity and resilience of people seeking sanctuary. Taking place 19-25th June, this is an unmissable opportunity for all awarded Schools of Sanctuary.

This year’s theme is all about compassion as an action – standing in solidarity with people seeking sanctuary and working to build a culture of understanding and kindness. 

This year, we ask that schools get involved with the Schools of Sanctuary Refugee Week BIG fundraiser to support a local refugee organisation and the Schools of Sanctuary programme!

Local refugee organisations are often at the forefront of supporting people seeking safety within your community and do so on a shoestring – find your local group and fundraise to support their lifechanging work.

We also ask you to commit at least £50 raised to Schools of Sanctuary. We have experienced incredible growth in the past 18 months but with the loss of our two biggest donors this year, are frantically fighting to secure the future of Schools of Sanctuary. 

We are a network of more than 400 awarded schools, with another 450 schools working towards the award. If every school could donate at least £50, the future of Schools of Sanctuary would be safe for the next school year.

Find all the resources you need to get going at the bottom of this page!

Fundraising Activity Suggestions

  1. A sponsored walk/cycle ride – to represent the journeys that people seeking safety make. Either individual students, a student group or the whole-school try and reach a target distance and collect donations from friends, family and neighbours (Consider making your target distance personal to your school community – have you welcomed people from Ukraine, Afghanistan or elsewhere this year?).
  2. A non-school uniform orange clothes day. Ask children and staff to come into school wearing as much orange as they can (face paint optional!) and donate what they can. Make sure to arrange everyone into a heart shape and grab a photo to reflect the orange heart symbol which is recognised as a symbol of compassion for people fleeing war and persecution.
  3. A sponsored month-long language learning challenge. Can you learn a new word every day? Why not try Dari, Pashto, Ukrainian, Tigrinya, Arabic or other languages spoken by people seeking safety in your community?
  4. A sunflower sale – to represent how we should all stand tall for refugee rights and to reflect the national flower of Ukraine. Start growing sunflowers this month and by June you should have some seedlings to sell at your school gates. Get students to decorate the flower pots with symbols of love and kindness for people seeking sanctuary. 
  5. Any other ideas you have!


Tips to boost donations

  • Set up an online fundraiser using Total Giving or Crowdfunder to help receive more donations. Please note Crowdfunder currently doesn’t allow fundraising efforts for more than one charity. Learn how to include two charities on Total Giving here. Make QR codes of your fundraising webpage and put on school newsletters, letters and on the school gates.
  • Contact local businesses, explain what you are doing and ask them to match-fund the donations you raise. Remember – it’s harder for businesses to say ‘no’ to children: can children visit or write letters to businesses to ask.
  • If doing a fundraising ‘challenge’, ask children to collect donation pledges from family, friends and neighbours that they can collect if they manage the challenge. Use our template pledge collecting document.
  • Invite your local press to cover your inspiring fundraising efforts and ask students to share why you are doing these activities, asking the local community to contribute to your fundraiser.
  • Involve your local MP! Invite them to join in with your efforts and stand in solidarity with people seeking safety – this will help you get coverage and also put them on the spot to chip in to a worthy cause!

Why we’re asking for your help

Without City of Sanctuary UK, there is no Schools of Sanctuary. City of Sanctuary UK is the glue, scaffolding and fuel for Schools of Sanctuary – and we’re currently under threat.

Unlike school award schemes offered by other organisations we want to keep Schools of Sanctuary free and accessible for any school that is interested in being a place of welcome. In reality, though, for the past year our tiny team of two part-time staff are over-stretched and struggling to meet the unprecedented level of interest.

Despite this, we have offered more support, resources and unique opportunities than ever before. 

Some of our key achievements include:

  • Growing from 297 schools in 2021 to over 400 awarded schools in March 2023. We’ve awarded 19 schools since the start of 2023!
  • More than 420 schools have signed the pledge and are ‘working towards’ the award, with over 300 signing the pledge in 2022 alone.
  • We have grown our local delivery partner network from 34 local areas in January 2022 to over 50 local areas today, meaning that Schools of Sanctuary is now being actively delivered and supported by trained and supported Leads in over 15 more local areas this year. Every Local Lead is trained and we offer regular follow-up trainings, practice-sharing meetings and resources like workshops and presentations that they can deliver to your school and to ensure they can provide you with the support you need to become a School of Sanctuary.
  • This school year, we have already: 
    • delivered four webinars including on on empowering student voice and supporting newly arrived students from Ukraine;
    • published four newsletters packed full of case studies, new resources and CPD opportunities and the latest events and opportunities – we now produce newsletters every half term, rather than termly due to popular demand;
    • shared 9 blogs with advice and resources;
    • and partnered with people and organisations to offer unique opportunities like free book distributions and workshops with authors like Dina Nayeri and Di Redmond, and free seed and gardening pack distributions to schools with refugee families.

We want to make the next school year even bigger and better – but we need your help to get there.

Helpful Resources

Schools of Sanctuary Fundraising Poster – PDF

Schools of Sanctuary Fundraising Powerpoint – PPT

Schools of Sanctuary Sticker

Schools of Sanctuary Poster

Schools of Sanctuary BIG Fundraiser Letter to Parents Template

Schools of Sanctuary BIG Fundraiser Donation Pledge Collection Table Template

Schools of Sanctuary Logos: