Sheffield Council planning to increase number of refugees in city this year

Plans to double the number of new refugees welcomed into Sheffield this year has sparked debate among Star readers.

By Lee Peace
Thursday, 14 March, 2019, 08:39

Sheffield previously welcomed 75 refugees a year and became the first City of Sanctuary in 2004 when the council adopted the Gateway Protection Programme.

But now, with funding from the Home Office, the authority is planning to double the number of people it helps resettle this year to more than 150.  

Dozens of readers have taken to Facebook to have their say on the matter.

Some were in favour of the move. George Sanders said: “People deserve refuge.” Rick Fawley posted: “Welcome to Sheffield” and added that “mostly we're okay and it's a nice place.”

But others suggested resources should be spent elsewhere.

One woman said: “Our elderly who have worked hard all their life are having their care cut to a bare minimum and are suffering because of lack of funding. People are living on the streets day after day night after night.”

Another reader posted: “Wouldn’t the resources be best spent on the people sleeping on the streets. We can’t look after our own, let’s get our own house in order first.”

Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “When you stop a moment and think about how terrifying it is to be trapped in a country at war and then how much of a transition it is to flee to another country and learn about life there, we’re proud to say that we are a city that works hard to make that often frightening transition as easy as possible. 

“With home office funding we are able to provide this  help  and we hope that after the government’s current consultation and review of resettlement arrangements in the UK it will mean that we can continue to help in the future.”

The money is set to go towards helping refugees to find and set up a home upon their arrival. The plans will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on March 20.