Sheffield charity’s plea to help immigrants

Kevin Bradley Director of St Wilfrids
Kevin Bradley Director of St Wilfrids
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The driving force behind one of Sheffield’s biggest charities has the slammed red tape which is leaving asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees out on the streets of the city.

Kevin Bradley, director of St Wilfrid’s Centre, Queens Road, Highfield, has reported a sharp rise in the number of homeless, out-of-work foreigners being sent to him to find a way home.

Men and women from European Union countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania are arriving in Sheffield with the promise of a new life – but the reality is often sleeping rough and struggling to survive.

Policy prevents Citizens Advice Bureau branches and Sheffield Council from giving people a ticket home, meaning St Wilfrid’s is left to foot the bill.

While staff never turn away anyone in need, the crisis is draining funds from its everyday work running a centre for vulnerable and socially-excluded Sheffield residents.

Mr Bradley said: “These are people who are paying to come here, being promised the streets are lined with gold.

“They get dumped from a coach outside Spearmint Rhino not speaking a word of English.

“A lot of them end up homeless and they go through every service before someone calls us and asks us to help.

“They tell us there is nowhere else they can send the person.

“What concerns me is that none of these services can give them the money they need for the ticket.

“These go through all these workers, all these different services, when most of the time all these people need is to be where they at least speak the same language.

“Most of the time all they want is to get home.”

A spokesman for Sheffield Council said: “If we are approached by a European Union national who is homeless, we look into their individual circumstances, to decide what help and assistance the legislation allows us to offer that person.

“One of the things we have to check for is whether they are actually eligible for assistance, which depends on a variety of criteria – their immigration status and whether they are ‘habitually resident’ in the UK, their country of origin and whether they are classed as a ‘worker’.”