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Notes for Sanctuary Ambassadors

You can say no!  When we ask if you could help, (e.g. speak at a meeting or with the media, provide your views etc.) we do not expect you to always say yes. You can say no if you’re uncomfortable, don’t have the time etc. You don’t need a reason, we respect that you are a volunteer and that you are not always available or even interested.

You can change your mind. You may have agreed to do something like an interview but then when you have weighed up the positives and negatives – for yourself, your family, friends and colleagues you might change your mind. This will always be respected.

You are volunteering. It’s important that you are clear you are volunteering. This is important if you are still in the asylum process because you are not allowed to work and if your role with us is construed as work this could go against you in the future. The Home Office guidelines on volunteering for people seeking asylum allows you to volunteer but not to do voluntary work.  We know this is not clear so it’s important when describing what you do that you use the words volunteering with not voluntary work. Please talk to a member of staff if you need clarification on this point.

You can be anonymous.  You do not have to provide your real name or your full name.  A good journalist will respect your privacy and if they don’t then we recommend that you don’t talk to them.  If you are sharing your story you can hold back details which could identify you, e.g. your country of origin. The story might be in local print or radio but can be picked up and shared widely through the internet. Once something is on the internet it is very difficult to remove.

You have the right to refuse to be photographed.

Ask us for resources.  Remember we can help you with data for your phone and also with information.  Please let us know if you need help with anything to ensure you can participate.  Please also see the Guide to Communications document here.

If you are not sure, just say so. Often we are asked questions and in our efforts to help we say what we think but it is safer to say you don’t know.

If your story has been published in the press, try not to read the comments.  The far right like to say nasty things in response to a positive story which can be hurtful. They are in the minority but very vocal. Remember the hundreds of thousands of people who don’t comment on a story but who will have read the story, learned and benefited from it.

Ask for our help. If you’re not sure or worried about anything, please talk to us. We will always make time for you and listen to your concerns and signpost or troubleshoot if we can.

Using Social media – Please consider your privacy settings and switch them from public, including your photographs. See the guides aimed at people from migrant and refugee backgrounds from Privacy International here.