Sheffield refugee crisis response is up for discussion

An Afghan refugee woman holding her daughter rests while waiting to board a train heading to the Austrian border, in Roszke, southern Hungary.
An Afghan refugee woman holding her daughter rests while waiting to board a train heading to the Austrian border, in Roszke, southern Hungary.
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A public meeting is taking place this weekend to discuss Sheffield’s response to the refugee crisis in Europe.

The ‘refugee summit’, at Sheffield University’s Firth Hall from 11am to 2pm, has been organised to share information about what is happening, what the city is doing and how people can help out.

Collection points for donations have been set up across the city since the crisis began - in particular tents, sleeping bags and men’s winter clothing are needed as freezing weather arrives at the camps in Calais.

Bin liners, spades, forks, rakes and heavy duty gloves are also useful.

Some volunteers have started their own charities and others have travelled to the Continent themselves to join the relief effort.

Trainee vicar Joy French, from Norfolk Park, launched Project Paddington after seeing photographs of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned on a Turkish beach.

She thought her initiative - where children send teddies, drawings of themselves and a short note to young refugees - would be small-scale, but now thousands of people have signed up and dozens of schools have got involved.

“The way that people have come together around this has just been unbelievable,” she said.

On Saturday more than 100 people gathered outside the Town Hall to urge the public to welcome refugees. Last week the council said ‘10 to 15’ Syrian families will be immediately resettled here. The city had already pledged to rehome 130 refugees this year.

Jim Steinke, of the Northern Refugee Centre, said: “In a year’s time, or two years’ time, these Syrian families that are coming here are still going to need support. It’s important that organisations, individuals and local authorities are still welcoming them.”

Donations can be left at the Town Hall, as well as at Theatre Delicatessen on The Moor.