On Valentine’s Day 2024, people across the country shared their love and solidarity for refugees.

From Brecon to Folkestone, Aberdeen to Birmingham, people from all walks of life across the country took part of our #FairBeginsHere Valentine’s Day action. They filled their towns, schools and social media feeds with welcoming cards and orange hearts – the symbol for refugee solidarity – and joined the call for a fair new plan for refugees. You can read more about all the activities here.  

As part of the Valentine’s Day action, campaigners were invited to bring together prominent people from all walks of life in their area to sign a joint Valentine’s message of love and solidarity to refugees. The joint letters were then promoted in local media and on social media to reach as many people as possible – crucial to demonstrating that there is broad support across society for a fair new plan for refugees. 

Huge thanks to the following groups for leading on joint letters in their areas for Valentine’s Day 2024: 

As you can see from this letter to refugees of Bristol and the South West, local campaigners did a brilliant job of bringing together a really diverse group of prominent people and community leaders to show the love for refugees – from trade unions, business, sports teams, faith groups, schools, student unions, the arts and music. To give a flavour of the range of signatories, the Bishop of Bristol was joined by former Children’s Laureate Sir Michael Morpurgo, Game of Thrones actor Jacob Anderson and the CEO of Gloucestershire County Club, alongside a host of other people representing other important sectors of society in Bristol and the South West. 

The letters received good coverage on the day, for example in the Manchester Evening News and Kent Live News, Bristol Post and Rochdale Online, as well as generating interviews on local radio stations and lots of activity on social media using the hashtag #FairBeginsHere.  

Accompanying these letters were some wonderful events and activities to mark the local launches of the Fair Begins Here campaign. For example, Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees brought together more than 100 people of all ages for a day of activities at Hay Castle to draw attention to the campaign for a fair new plan.  

It was also amazing to have the support of Rochdale AFC for the Rochdale joint letter – and on the same day they announced the club had been awarded one of the first Football Clubs of Sanctuary in the UK!  

This Valentine’s Day action is just the start of us showing that people from across society and from all walks of life support a fair new plan for refugees. Getting our message out through local media is hugely important, which is why we are so pleased to support our partners at City of Sanctuary with their Local Media Challenge next month in March:  

“Right now the voices of people who want a compassionate approach to refugees are not being heard. This challenge is about using local media to change that. Throughout the month of March, we will be encouraging City of Sanctuary groups, partner organisations, Sanctuary awarded institutions and individuals to place messages of solidarity and compassion in local letters pages, op-eds, articles, radio phone-ins, blogs and more”.  

We will be sharing more details soon but for now here are details of City of Sanctuary’s Local Media Challenge.