It is now five years since the heart wrenching pictures of the toddler Alan Kurd who was drowned in the mediterranean sea as his family fled war-torn Syria and there are still boatloads of refugees making dangerous crossings to try to escape to safer countries.
While the number of people who have crossed the strait of Dover has more than doubled in a year to at least 5,000, the total number of asylum claims received between April and June nearly halved when compared with the first three months of 2020.
Without refugee status asylum seekers are not allowed to work. Once their initial application for asylum has been turned down many are left with no right to housing, benefits or other vital support. They're left homeless, destitute and vulnerable on the streets of our city.
“ASSIST Sheffield supports some of the most vulnerable people living in Sheffield - people who have been unsuccessful in their applications for asylum and as a result have been made destitute. Many of them have escaped the unimaginable horrors of war, violence and persecution, but simply telling the truth about the conditions they have fled sadly isn't always enough”
Sheffield has always taken great pride in being a welcoming city and in particular a welcoming city for refugees and asylum seekers. In 2007, with the support of the City Council, Sheffield became the UK’s first City of Sanctuary for asylum-seekers and refugees—a city that takes pride in the welcome it offers to people in need of safety. City of Sanctuary Sheffield is an independent charity that works to build this culture of welcome in the city.