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The 1st “Maternity Service of Sanctuary Award” was presented to the Haamla midwives. You can read more about their work here.

The award facilitates services to provide inclusive and appropriate care for women by recognising existing good practice and progress in relation to the three principles LEARN, EMBED and SHARE below. The Maternity Stream team will support you through each step and we are happy to provide facilitation and speakers.

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 women are aware of the service or support group and how and why to access it


  • Invite an asylum seeker or refugee along to your team meeting to share her story of pregnancy, birth and motherhood in the UK.
  • View the Maternity Stream film at your work/group (the film is available to view on our website here)
  • Encourage the women you support to speak to others in their situation about why and how to access maternity care
  • Undertake a group session with the women you support to explore their experiences and correct any misunderstandings about how maternity care works in the UK

Embed positive action


  • Produce resources that are not reliant on the ability to read and write in English
  • Hold regular group meetings with the women you support to continue the learning process for all involved
  • 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
  • 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 women they support.

Who can apply?

Any voluntary or statutory service that provides direct support to pregnant/postnatal asylum seeking and refugee women

How to apply?

If you are in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, please register your interest by emailing [email protected]

To proceed, Maha will arrange for someone to discuss how the award scheme can work for your service. To be given the award you need to complete the application for a sanctuary award  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 3years.

To apply elsewhere in the UK please contact:
[email protected]

Why become a Service of Sanctuary?

Imagine what it would be like if all the maternity care providers in your town/city had achieved the award? How much more secure the support available would feel for both staff and women accessing the services?

City of Sanctuary is a well respected charity that has been supporting asylum seekers and refugees for over 10 years. The Maternity Service of Sanctuary award is a way to encourage maternity services to reflect on the care they provide to asylum seeking and refugee women. By creating a network of services of sanctuary we hope that services will be able to support one another and share good practice more easily and with increased confidence when referring to another Service of Sanctuary.

General qualities we would hope to find in a Service of Sanctuary:

  • Good level of understanding of the rights and entitlements to maternity care for asylum Seeking and refugee women
  • Active engagement with asylum seeking and refugee women
  • Mapping of other organisations in the locality that asylum seeking and refugee women can access
  • A service that is welcoming and inclusive


To apply in the Yorkshire and Humber region please contact:
[email protected]

To apply elsewhere in the UK please contact:
[email protected]

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