Rally cry for Sheffield to welcome more refugees

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall
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A demonstration urging Sheffield Council to increase the number of refugees welcomed to the city will take place at the Town Hall tomorrow.

Demonstrators will march from The Moor at 11am and hold a rally at Town Hall, where Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil liberties group Liberty, will make a speech.

A petition by South Yorkshire Migration & Asylum Action Group and others has called on the council to ‘match the generosity shown by Sheffield people to refugees’.

Sheffield has agreed to take in 10 to 15 families as well as 130 refugees under the Gateway Protection Programme.

But this will not include refugees who are already in Europe.

“Many people in Sheffield feel the Prime Minister’s offer to take 4,000 a year from camps is not enough when other countries like Germany are accepting 20 times that,” said SYMAAG chairman John Grayson.

“We want to press home the view that Britain should be playing its part in rescuing those living in desperate conditions in Calais and other parts of the continent.”

Tamara Hawkins, a support worker living in Sheffield, will also be speaking at the event. She travelled to Calais in September with ‘very little expectation or much knowledge’.

After interacting with the refugees, she said: “They’re people. They’re very skilled, tenacious, determined people that would benefit our diversity and our economy with those skills if that was understood.”

The march will gather at The Moor at 11am, with the demonstration at Town Hall taking place at noon. Refugees who have already been welcomed to Sheffield will also share their experiences.