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Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Wednesday, 28 July 2010 16:30 UK
The Northern Refugee Centre in Sheffield faces cuts
The Northern Refugee Centre in Sheffield
The Northern Refugee Centre in Sheffield may lose half of its staff

The Northern Refugee Centre in South Yorkshire is facing big cuts.

In July 2010 it was announced that the charitable organisation will lose around £500,000 from their budget.

This will mean a loss of around 20 of their 40 staff and managers say that means many cuts to services for refugees and asylum seekers.

Jim Steinke is Chief Executive of the Northern Refugee Centre. He spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield in July 2010:

"The Northern Refugee Centre is funded by a wide variety of sources at national and local level. The immediate cuts have been from national level. Other organisations will be hit later in the year by more local cuts.

"We are significantly funded by the UK Borders Agency which is part of the Home Office, and cuts to the Department of Communities and Local Government have also affected us. Both have imposed fairly immediate cuts in the light of the Government's decision to reduce public expenditure."

Jim Steinke says not only will the cuts mean job losses for staff at the Northern Refugee Centre, based in the centre of Sheffield, but it will have a massive impact on services:

"Asylum seekers, refugees and migrant workers are going to have significant reductions in services available. These are not just services that we feel to be important, but services that have been felt to be important by local authorities and the government, and that's why they've been funding them so far.

"The expectation is that we continue to somehow provide something like the services there were before, but in some cases there will be up to a 50% reduction in funding."

City of Sanctuary

Sheffield became the UK's first City of Sanctuary for asylum seekers and refugees in 2007, with the support of Sheffield City Council.

City of Sanctuary is a movement that was set up to build a culture of hospitality for refugees and asylum-seekers in Sheffield. Over 100 local organisations including schools, community projects, student groups, and most of Sheffield's main faith communities joined.

Afghan migrants in a camp in Calais
Afghan migrants in a camp in Calais

"Sheffield has done so much to be proud of with its work with refugees and asylum seekers," said Jim Steinke. "There will be an adaption in the legal and general advice we can give. They are already very stretched. Specifically, there will also be less services for women."

He also says that it is a hard time for his staff: "I've spent the morning talking with people who are at risk of losing their jobs. The sheer dedication they've shown within this is a real reflection of what people - not just in the voluntary sector but in the public service generally - commit to their work.

"Despite this, we're managing to keep services going. But what I find difficult is hearing public comments by the media or by politicians about somehow this is slack, these are maybe efficiency savings etc - when in actual fact they're very clear cuts in terms of quality of services."


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