New National Lottery funding for Sefton’s Libraries Service will enable expansion of support for sanctuary-seeking women in Bootle

26 January 2024 3 min read

Sefton Council’s Libraries Service will be receiving £75,000 of new Reaching Communities England funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, it has been announced today.


Its successful bid for this funding - £25,000 per year for the next three years  - will mean that projects already underway to build solidarity between the diverse communities in South Sefton can continue.

The National Lottery Community Fund investment will be used to expand and develop creative work with diaspora communities and families, including Colour of Pomegranates, which has supported sanctuary-seeking women in Bootle since 2022.

Speaking and listening skills

Colour of Pomegranates is a welcoming space for women learning English to practise their speaking and listening skills, with fluent speakers, through conversation and creative activities. The aim of the group is to develop friendships, create connections, and help foster support and solidarity between women in our neighbourhoods.

As a result of this work, Sefton Libraries was awarded Library of Sanctuary status in 2022. This award celebrates libraries across the country that have created a welcoming and safe environment for anyone in need of sanctuary, including refugees and people seeking asylum. This new funding will mean Sefton Libraries can extend this welcoming culture through its work with these local communities.

More opportunities

As the project grows, sanctuary women and their families we will be provided with more opportunities through volunteering roles, activities for young people and collaborations with wonderful partners such as The Venus Centre and Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. The Reaching Communities fund will form an absolutely vital part of this growth.

This project is part of Sefton Libraries’ Arts Council-funded National Portfolio Organisation partnership with local arts organisation Rule of Threes Arts.

Lovely environment

One participant from Colour of Pomegranates said: “The programme created a lovely environment, confidence in using the library space. It helped me with motivation, felt less unhappy and kept me busy”.

Another said: “It’s helped me with learning new skills, making new friends, feeling good, having fun and more and more. I really appreciate the hard work of the team”.


Carlie Machel from The Venus Centre said: “The programme has helped so much with inclusion; we gathered together and worked on the same activities; we laughed and danced together.

"We didn’t need to speak the same language which was brilliant. Everyone benefits from this, and we worked as a community. I feel people are more comfortable to try chatting and engaging in a different way now.” 

Showcases value

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “This excellent work to help women in Sefton seeking sanctuary to learn English showcases how valuable Sefton Council’s Libraries service is to our diverse range of communities.

“This successful bid for Reaching Communities England funding will mean their work can flourish resulting in more space and programming for sanctuary-seeking people throughout Sefton.

“I can’t wait to see the results.”

You can use this link to find out more about The Colour of Pomegranates


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