Council to spend £1million grant on supporting asylum seekers in Sheffield

Sheffield Town HallSheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall
An extra £1 million is going to be spent on supporting asylum seekers in Sheffield, the city council has revealed.

The council’s communities, parks and leisure policy committee decided to accept a two-year plan which will see the allocation of the asylum dispersal grant worth more than £1 million.

A supporting document stated that there were “ongoing pressures” on the national asylum system and the report added it included “an increasing backlog of undetermined applications and higher demand for accommodation due to the increase in the supported asylum population”.

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Jason Siddall, the head of communities in the communities portfolio, said they had been in front of the committee last year to talk about the asylum dispersal grant – to mitigate asylum in the city.

The committee was told that during the last financial year, Sheffield had received £492,500 from the same pot, which was ringfenced for specific purposes and carried into the current financial year.

Now, Mr Siddall added, they had received a further £1,009,500 from the government.

He said they requested the committee to delegate authority to the director of communities to spend £224,500 of that sum so they can respond to the “increased demand” in the city.

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He said: “For the rest of it, there’s a proposal split out for over two years – year one £385,000 and year two £400,000.

“That is essentially for the staff resources that are required to manage the function.”

The grant is proposed to create eight new roles over the two-year period, including a strategic lead, an operational delivery lead, two strategic development officers, a senior support officer, two sustainable community officers and a community support officer.

Cllr Robert Reiss (East Ecclesfield, Liberal Democrats) asked what the extra £224,500 would be spent on (extra flexibility of staffing cost, facilities etc).

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Mr Siddall said the money could be spent on all of the above – potentially.

He said: “Part of the thinking is how we can support the voluntary sector because [it] is quite keen, as you can imagine, in this space.

“We’ve got partners in the city that work tirelessly with the asylum cohort. We want to be able to support our voluntary sector partners.”

The committee was also told that the Ukrainian refugees – alongside people from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and many others – were still getting support in Sheffield.

The recommendations set out in the report were unanimously approved.