Suggested Guidance for Churches Considering Possible Sanctuary Stopping

Have a look at the website particularly for information about the need for providing sanctuary stopping. A read through an example risk assessment and frequently asked questions may be helpful.

Have an honest discussion with your leadership team, and the governing body of your church. For Anglican Churches this will be the parochial Church Council (PCC). What are the reasons for wanting to offer a space, what are the concerns? It is important that everyone feels able to talk and raise any matters.

Have a look at any list of positive reasons and questions or concerns; is there a need for more knowledge, experience or information? Can this be addressed, for example is there a Bishop’s advisor or Chaplain, and members of local Gypsy or Traveller Communities who might arrange to visit and meet the PCC; can any questions be answered through conversation with ‘Gypsy, Roma Traveller Friendly Churches”? (GRTFC). Would a virtual conversation with the project lead for ‘sanctuary spaces’, or another member of the team be helpful?

Is there land available that might be suitable? When is that land needed for other activities and so unavailable? Does the PCC (or relevant governing body) have the control of the land? Are there any restrictions or covenants on the use of the land? For Anglican Churches the Archdeacon may be a useful person to contact if there are any uncertainties.

Talk with your local authority, is there a specialist, or particular team who work with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller peoples? Would the local authority welcome the offer from the church? What support and services could the local authority provide.

Talk with the local authority about documentation, legal situation regarding welfare care, health and safety, relevant legislations and authorisations re land use etc.

Check with Church insurers for any extra cover required and explanation of this, any particular requirements or stipulations. Consider any new requirements, are these reasonable, achievable, practical and affordable?

Can the local authority help you with talking with any local communities who may be involved or interested in the proposal?

Can the local authority help you with contact and liaison with local police services, is a meeting needed to talk through any possible concerns or questions. Can a team be formed to take things forward, it may be helpful if any team included representation from the church, local community, local authority, and local police service.

Is it possible to think about a trial period? How can this be evaluated? How can the evaluation be shared and what has been learned?

If going ahead with a project, would a visit in person from the project lead for ‘sanctuarystopping’ be helpful?