Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Northern Refugee Centre in Sheffield to close

Jim Steinke of the Northern Refugee Centre in Sheffield
Image caption Jim Steinke, of the Northern Refugee Centre, said services would be transferred

A charity which has helped refugees in Yorkshire for 34 years is to close through lack of funds.

The Northern Refugee Centre (NRC) in Sheffield has been trying to fill a £150,000 funding gap since the summer.

Chief executive Jim Steinke said the organisation would close in January, but its services would be transferred to other agencies.

The NRC provided support, advice and advocacy for refugees and migrant workers in Yorkshire.

It relied on money from councils, a private trust fund, lottery funding and other grants.

A statement said the closure followed "a prolonged attempt to sort future sustainability for the organisation, with negotiations with funders, local authorities and a public appeal".

Centre a 'lynchpin'

The board has now decided to preserve the services rather than the organisation itself, which is based near Lady's Bridge in Sheffield city centre.

"We've got the funding transferred, we've found agencies to do that, and people will continue to have a service," said Mr Steinke.

Image caption Andy Buck said the NRC had been a "lynchpin in the city, a place for people to ask for help about all sorts of everyday things like schools, housing, employment"
Image caption Mr Steinke said the NRC had managed to preserve most of its services for Yorkshire, and had kept the bulk of services in Sheffield

Services will remain in most of Yorkshire, particularly in Sheffield and Bradford, but provision is still needed for Hull.

About 18 of the 27 staff will transfer to other agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Andy Buck, of Sheffield CAB, said it was a "very serious situation".

"The NRC has done fantastic work in the city for many years and been at the heart of support for refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers."

He said the CAB had taken "immediate action to secure key services provided by the NRC", including employing one of their advice workers.

Sheffield became the UK's first City of Sanctuary for asylum-seekers and refugees in 2007, and annually takes in about 1,000 refugees from all over the world.

Several Syrian families are due to arrive in Sheffield this week on the government resettlement programme.

Image caption Sheffield Citizens Advice Bureau will work with Assist, City of Sanctuary, and South Yorkshire Law and Justice to co-ordinate provision for refugees

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