‘Refugees are welcome here’ is the message at Sheffield demo

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More than 100 people gathered in Sheffield to urge the public to welcome refugees into the city.

The demonstration, which was attended by people of all ages and ethnicity, coincided with similar events in towns and cities across the UK.

There were passionate speakers from various organisations, groups and individuals outside Sheffield Town Hall.

They chanted: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”

Residents heard about the various projects in the city aimed at helping refugees and how they could get involved.

Jim Steinke, of the Northern Refugee Centre, said it was important to recognise that offering Syrian families refuge in Sheffield was not just a short-term measure.

He said: “In a year’s time, or two years’ time, these Syrian families that are coming here are still going to need support and it’s important that organisations, individuals and local authorities are still welcoming them.”

He added that it was the biggest refugee crisis the world had witnessed since World War Two.

Several youngsters also spoke to the crowd about their feelings and views on the issue.

It was the city’s first demonstration since Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK will take in 20,000 refugees.

Following the announcement, Sheffield Council said it would ‘immediately open its doors’ to refugees from Syria.

Saturday’s demonstration coincided with a march in London, during thousands of people took to the streets in support of refugees.

In Doncaster, residents and campaigners took part in a day of action to show the refugees that they are also welcome in the borough too.

People of all ages gathered outside Mansion House in the town centre and waved banners and placards.

A Facebook page, called Doncaster Solidarity with Calais Refugees Group, was set up last week and has attracted hundreds of supporters and led to dozens of donation collection points being set up across the borough.

n A planned meeting to discuss the city’s response to the crisis in Europe has been changed.

It had been advertised as taking place at Sheffield University’s Firth Hall, at Firth Court on Western Bank on Saturday morning.

It will now take place in the same venue this Saturday, September 19, starting at 11am.