Refugee centre to close due to ‘lack of funding’

The Northern Refugee Centre at Exchange Brewery on Bridge Street is set to close in the new year due to financial difficulties.
The Northern Refugee Centre at Exchange Brewery on Bridge Street is set to close in the new year due to financial difficulties.
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A Sheffield charity which helps refugees across the region is closing its doors due to lack of funding.

The Northern Refugee Centre, in the city centre, has been trying to find £150,000 after losing key sources of funding in the summer.

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

The organisation, which has been operating for 34 years, helps on average 70 refugees and migrant workers every month with support, advice and advocacy.

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

Its board has now decided to preserve the services rather than the organisation itself.

The statement said: “We have been working on the transfer of existing services and potential funded developments to a range of other organisations, both local and national, across Yorkshire and Humber.

“This has been largely successful and we will publish a full list of who will be providing services, that NRC used to provide, in the near future.

“We are hoping that there will be as much continuity of services as possible, and in most cases existing staff will be transferred over to that new organisation to provide that service.

“But meanwhile NRC has stopped all direct services, and all staff are either redundant or on unpaid leave at present.

“However previous NRC services have continued through other agencies as from now.”

About 16 of the 27 staff will transfer to other agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Mr Steinke said: “It’s a sad time but the key thing is that we have always been services focussed and what we want is for people to continue to get these services.”

Coun Sioned-Mair Richards, acting cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Sheffield Council, said: “The NRC has been a valued partner working, both in the city and regionally, on asylum and refugee issues.

“We are sad to see the organisation go. We are working closely with their staff and Migration Yorkshire to identify how the services they provided can be delivered by others.”