Please now see the excellent new website for full details:-

find us on facebook

(If you wish to be added to the RCOS mailing list please email with your name and requesting to be added.)

Saturday February 17th.

A small coachload of Ripon Refugee families together with members of Ripon City of Sanctuary Group set off in the morning to visit a Church in Wakefield where we shared a wonderful typical Syrian lunch  provided by a group of local mostly Syrian Asylum seekers. Many of the foods we had the privilege to partake of were unknown to those of us more used to a western palate, but nevertheless really delicious.

On leaving to return to Ripon, not having been able to consume the very generous amounts of food provided, food parcels were pressed on us to bring home to enjoy. We very much valued the time we were able to spend with the people there and learned much about the plight that they were in. It was good to hear knowledgeable people offering advice to some asylum seekers on the best way to approach their applications, whilst others enjoyed different social activities. It was a very informative and interesting day all round.

September 23rd 2017

We had a second we believe very successful day when we welcomed two  busloads of refugees to Ripon, one from Wakefield and one from Hull.

Approx 120 of us sat down to lunch at Allhallowgate Church after visits were arranged to different parts  of Ripon. The Cathedral provided Tea & cakes in the afternoon and after returning to Allhallowgate for the Children to partake of ice cream, the coaches set off on the return journeys at about 4pm. The Mayor with her serjeant  joined the gathering and spent a good part of the day mixing with everyone. Local Syrian families also joined us for the day.



Chairman’s Letter of 03.09.2017:-


Chairman’s Letter of July 20th 2017.

Dear All,

On behalf of the Ripon City of Sanctuary Group I am delighted to attach the invitation to tea at Thorpe Prebend House at 14 High Saint Agnesgate, Ripon HG4 1QR on Saturday August 5th at 3.30pm. It is an occasion to meet the 3 Syrian families living in Ripon.  It is also the occasion of the St Wilfrid Parade and we hope that the families will see something of the Parade and no doubt we will have excited children, now speaking English well, to tell us all about it. In sending this invitation I am pleased to add that we have planned other opportunities to meet the families and make them feel welcome in Ripon.

On September 23rd we will host refugees from Hull and Wakefield, as we did last year. We will this year be able also to invite the Syrian families of Ripon. We will be pleased to learn of those who would like to help in various ways. We will be glad to have names of those prepared to act as guides in taking small groups round Ripon. We will be glad to have names of those able to assist in the preparation and serving of the food (lunch at Allhallowgate Methodist Church and tea at Ripon Cathedral).

I have also attached a summary of our recent activities. This summary we gave to our MP, Julian Smith at a useful meeting we had with him on July 14th. We were pleased to assure him that the settlement of the Syrian families in Ripon has been peaceful and that the community of Ripon had been very welcoming. The families are grateful.

We have other events in the pipe-line. On October 14th we have tentatively arranged a reading of Syrian poetry. On November 15th we plan to have a film evening concerning refugee matters. We will be arranging further talks similar to those we have had earlier this year and last year.

Finally a message from Nicola David: “Today is the one-year anniversary of the first 2 Syrian families’ arrival in our area. We now have another 8 Syrian families, plus an Iraqi and a Sudanese family. While they no longer have significant needs, they struggle to pay for unexpected costs and the original crowdfunded sum has now been spent. We have started another crowdfund campaign to help them when they can’t manage on their own – for things like garden gates to keep children safe, replacing broken equipment, etc. If you’d like to donate, please follow the link below. Thank you!”

We are glad to have had the help of many in the Ripon area, who have provided support for the Syrian families. We would also like to say a thank you to those who over the last year have helped in other ways. For example the dispatch of 70 car loads of clothes for asylum seekers and refugees in need in Yorkshire and beyond, has only happened through the generosity of the many. A second thank you.

We hope to see you at the Strawberry Tea. Please reply to let us know you will be with us.

Best wishes from John Mellor on behalf of the Ripon City of Sanctuary Group.




Click HERE for an a copy of Invitation to afternoon tea which was held on May 21st 2017 at 3pm with Syrian Families.


A very informative public meeting was held at Allhallowgate Church Halls at 7.30pm on April 10th 2017.

Speaker  was P. Trewhitt, the Executive Director of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations concerning refugees and human rights.

Click on the following links to see the Chairman’s letter and also a leaflet regarding this meeting.


Ripon City of Sanctuary Group Philip Trewhitt Leaflet




Training. March 6th 2017

We had an excellent training session Chaired by John Mellor, and with contributions by |Rose McCarthy from the Refugee council who brought along a Syrian refugee from Leeds. We learnt a great deal about the cultural differences that exist between a Syrian Muslim and ourselves. Nicola David also spoke on the general principles of befriending Ripon’s refugees.

Public Meeting

There was a public Meeting of Ripon City of Sanctuary in the Main Hall at Allhallowgate Methodist Church, Victoria Grove, Ripon. HG4 1LG on Monday January 30th at 7.30pm.

We had two talks from Members of Staff of the British Red Cross.

In Talk 1 was about ‘International

Family Tracing – the road to restoring broken family links ’ illustrated by case histories.

In Talk 2 we were shown slides of African refugee camps under the title ‘Architectures role in the refugee crisis.’


Ripon City of Sanctuary Group January Newsletter 2017

We are pleased to give you an update on the arrival of the third Syrian family, future

talks, further donation, our collection of clothes and some other matters.

Syrian families: We are pleased that a third Syrian family is expected to arrive in Ripon this

week. As with the arrival of the two previous families we anticipate that the initial

responsibility of assisting their transition to life in Ripon will be met by the Refugee Council.

Later support from the wider community will be welcomed.

On January 30 th at Allhallowgate Methodist Church at 7.30pm we will have two talks

from Members of Staff of the British Red Cross. O. Franck will describe ‘International

Family Tracing – the road to restoring broken family links ’ illustrated by case histories and

M. Neto will show slides of African refugee camps under the title ‘Architectures role in

the refugee crisis.’

On March 6th at Allhallowgate Methodist Church at 7.30pm we will have Training in the culture of Syrian Families. 

P. Trewhitt the Executive Director of the Institute for International Criminal

Investigations concerning refugees and human rights.

We very gratefully acknowledge recent donations from the Cathedral and the Bread of Life

foodbank to support our work in assisting the local Syrian families.

In December 3 car loads of clothes were delivered to Open Doors, the project supporting

asylum seekers and refugees in Hull and 2 car loads were delivered to Wakefield City of

Sanctuary Group who distributed the clothes to recently arrived asylum seekers. We thank all

those who have collected and donated clothes over the last year. We in Ripon, have made it

possible for very many to receive warm clothes in Hull and Wakefield. Other organisations

are now donating with the result that Wakefield has asked that in the near future we

concentrate on clothes for children of all ages. In the case of Hull they have no shortage of

clothes for children but ask that we continue to collect clothes for adults.

We also thank those who have indicated that they wish to support the Ripon Syrian families.

We are now registered with the North Yorkshire and York Forum who will assist us in

processing DBS checks and in establishing appropriate safeguarding policies. The DBS check

will cost £13 and whilst recognising that some volunteers may choose to pay for their check,

we will pay the charge when necessary. Please can you confirm that you wish to volunteer

and be DBS checked. Following your reply I will come back to discuss in what way you can

support our families and then send you the DBS form, where necessary.

We have agreed with Hull and Wakefield that we will arrange further events in Ripon –

probably June. In the next few months there will be opportunities for volunteers to visit

Hull on a Thursday and Wakefield on a Wednesday morning. Both drop-ins are

inspiring and interesting. Please let me know names to put on a list of likely visitors.

We are delighted that Ripon Cathedral School is seeking School of Sanctuary status. With

Syrian children now attending 3 different schools in Ripon, it is pleasing that an interest in

becoming a School of Sanctuary has been indicated by a second school in Ripon.

Public Meeting

A well attended Public meeting was held at Allhallowgate Methodist Church in the Main Hall on August 8th 2016 at 7.30pm.          The speaker was Our Chairman, Mr John Mellor, who spoke about the various ways in which refugees arrive in the country, and the definitions of refugee, asylum seeker and migrant worker. John enlarged on the whole picture of refugees both in their own countries and what they experience when arriving in this Country.

The next meeting is planned for October 3rd at 7.30pm, same venue.

A RCOSG sub committee has been planning to bring some refugees from Hull  and Wakefield centres to Ripon for a day out  on Saturday September 24th.


We expect to be welcoming 75 refugees on 24th Sept. Some local visits are planned, with a sit down lunch at 1pm in Allhallogate Church Main Hall. Let’s hope for decent weather.


News from Our Chairman, John Mellor, via e-mail dated August 12th 2016:-

Dear All,

There is enough happening in the life of Ripon City of Sanctuary that I believe it justifies an e-mail to all those who are interested in our work.

There are now 2 Syrian families living in Harrogate and members of the Ripon City of Sanctuary Group have been helping them settle. Nicola David initiated a fundraising effort on August 8th and quickly raised enough money to permit steps to be taken to equip the families with TV sets.  A member of our Group has been assisting the family as an interpreter.  It is anticipated that further families will be arriving in October. 

We expect to receive asylum seeker and refugee visitors from Hull and Wakefield on September 24th. More details will be given in early September. In preparation for this visit there was a talk given by John Mellor on August 8thabout the asylum system and the steps needed for asylum seekers to receive Leave to Remain.

Our contact with the drop-in project Open Doors held in Princes Avenue Methodist Church, Hull continues as a van load of clothes and a small number of buggies were taken to Hull on August 11th. The Jennyruth Workshop van was used to transport many bags of clothes to Open Doors, the drop-in centre for asylum seekers and refugees in Hull. The clothes have been collected by the Ripon City of Sanctuary Group via Ripon Cathedral and the Methodist Circuit of Ripon and the Lower Dales. The visit was successful at many different levels. It has permitted needy asylum seekers and refugees to be clothed. It is enabling a Somali football team in Hull to receive a kit in fluorescent yellow. It has enabled an Iranian couple to have a much needed buggie as they await their second child. It has enabled learning disabled adults who attend Jennyruth Workshops to have conversations with asylum seekers and refugees and to better understand their uncertain life in the UK.  In turn by their presence at Open Doors, which assists 200 asylum seekers and refugees each week, they demonstrate their care in a practical manner in loading and unloading the van. We are most grateful that Jennyruth Workshops delivered without charge. It may have been the beginning of an imaginative interaction. The possibility of Jennyruth Workshops making wood toys etc for the families attending Open Doors will be explored.

Similarly our contact with Wakefield City of Sanctuary is maintained as we take a car load of clothes once every two weeks. We are very grateful to all those who have contributed clothes and other items for Hull and Wakefield.

There will be a meeting on September 5th at Allhallowgate Methodist Church at 7.30pm of those who have offered to help with catering and on-the-day support for the visit on September 24th

Plans are being made for a Regional Meeting of City of Sanctuary at York on Saturday October 1st. It will be an occasion to meet the York City of Sanctuary Group.  York, like Ripon, is not a dispersal centre for asylum seekers but unlike Ripon, York has been doing valuable work for a number of years. It will also be an opportunity to meet other Groups such as Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield which have had a history of maybe 10 years work alongside asylum seekers, who have been dispersed to these cities. This is an advance notice and further details will be available in early September. The programme will provide an opportunity to learn about the work of City of Sanctuary in situations very different from Ripon. Another theme is likely to be the work of centres like Ripon and Skipton, remote from centres of dispersal. Please put this date in your diary.

Thank you for your continuing support,

John Mellor