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Maternity Stream of Sanctuary Award

From April 2024, we are unable to accept any more maternity award applications. This is due to funding constraints. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions

To celebrate organisations who go above and beyond to support and welcome people seeking sanctuary, we have launched the Maternity Stream of Sanctuary Awards programme.

Through this formal process of recognising and rewarding good practice within maternity services, other organisations are encouraged to provide care which is welcoming and holistically safe for people seeking sanctuary. Any organisation can apply – including antenatal classes, volunteer doula organisations and NHS maternity departments.

The Maternity Stream will support you through each step of the award process.

The key criteria for the award are: LEARN, EMBED and SHARE. For more information, please see the Resource Pack.

LEARN about pregnant asylum seeking and refugee women, their experiences of asylum, the challenges of living in the UK and their subsequent health and social care needs. Ensure people are aware of the service or support group and how to access it.


  • Embed a refugee information session into mandatory training, consider inviting a speaker to come and deliver a talk.
  • View the Maternity Stream films at your work/group (the film is available to view on our website here)
  • Develop resources staff can access on rights and entitlements to healthcare and maternity charging.

EMBED positive action within your organisation. This means that people seeking sanctuary should be engaged in decision making processes at all levels. Create opportunities for relationships of friendship and solidarity between local people and those seeking sanctuary and identify opportunities for practice action and working on common cause issues to effect change within and across communities.


  • Produce resources that are not reliant on the ability to read and write in English
  • Build formal partnerships with local community groups and refer women to these organisations to help build peer support networks
  • Develop guidelines or care pathways to inform your work.
  • Create new volunteer roles for asylum seeking and refugee women
  • Monitor and evaluate best practice in your work

SHARE best practice with maternity services and local voluntary sector organisations


  • Encourage partners and stakeholders to apply for the award.
  • Utilise maternity servicer user social media groups to celebrate sanctuary initiatives and make explicit your organisational commitment to a culture of welcome.
  • Participate in a Maternity Stream conference or similar event.

Please note that the examples given are exactly that! It is crucial that the improvements made are specific to each service and meets the needs of their staff/volunteers and the people they support.

The first ever “Maternity Stream of Sanctuary Award” was presented to the Haamla midwives. You can read more about their work here.

Why apply for a Maternity Stream of Sanctuary Award?

We all have a part to play in building a more welcoming, inclusive and compassionate society. City of Sanctuary UK has been supporting asylum seekers and refugees for over ten years. The Maternity Stream of Sanctuary award is a way to encourage organisations with a focus on maternity services to reflect on and improve the care they provide to asylum-seeking and refugee families.

Who can apply?

Any voluntary or statutory organisation that provides support to asylum-seeking or refugee women and families as they navigate the UK maternity system.

How to apply?

Please email [email protected] to discuss how the award scheme could work for your organisation.

To achieve award accreditation you need to complete the application for a sanctuary award form and present a small amount of written evidence demonstrating how you have met the above criteria (Learn, Embed, Share). Following this an appraisal team comprising of a service user, maternity care specialist and a member of the local City of Sanctuary group will review your application. The award will be presented at an awards ceremony and is valid for three years.