YORK St John University has been granted University of Sanctuary status, in recognition of its work to welcome asylum seekers.

The award was given by City of Sanctuary, the organisation which supports people who are seeking sanctuary, who praised the University’s approach to inclusivity.

The university is one of only six in the United Kingdom to be given the accolade, and the third in Yorkshire, with the aim of the scheme to create a culture of welcome and hospitality at a local level.

Professor Karen Stanton, Vice Chancellor, said the scheme promoted understanding, recognition and celebration of the ways in which people seeking sanctuary enrich society.

She said: "This award represents our commitment to inclusivity at all levels and we hope our University of Sanctuary status will serve as a beacon of hope in the community, the City of York and beyond.

"We are immensely proud that York St John University has been recognised as a place where anyone can feel safe, welcome and able to pursue their right to education."

The university engages in a number of activities to support those seeking sanctuary, including free English lessons, visits by language students to local schools, a scholarship programme and sports training at the University’s Haxby Road sports site.

Sara Trewitt, City of Sanctuary Regional Coordinator for Yorkshire & Humberside, said: "York St John University's application for University of Sanctuary designation demonstrated an impressive commitment from across the entire institution to supporting sanctuary seekers and fostering welcome for all. From the Vice Chancellor to the Students’ Union to the individual Schools, there was a clear, genuine cross-campus approach to embedding principles of inclusion and welcome."