Security firm G4S has lost its Home Office contract to provide housing accommodation to asylum seekers in Yorkshire after a series of scandals and efforts by campaigners to end the arrangement. A new 10-year contracts, worth £1bn, has been awarded by the Home Office to housing and social care provider Mears including responsibility for housing asylum seekers in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
Dozens staged a protest on Monday outside the Home Office South Yorkshire immigration centre at Vulcan House over the deportation of Zimbabwean asylum seekers. Protestors claim that representatives of the Zimbabwean government were invited to be involved in questioning asylum seekers in the UK as part of a plan to return 2500 failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. A Home Office spokesperson said: “Routine re-documentation interviews take place regularly at Home Office sites across the UK”. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
Dozens of anti-immigration campaigners travelled from Sheffield to the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire to protest against what they described as the cruel and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. The protest was organised by the Sheffield branch of Student Action for Refugees together with South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
Campaigners have mounted a demonstration outside Sheffield Town Hall to protest the deportation of Zimbabwean asylum seekers. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
A Sheffield-hosted conference on housing conditions for asylum seekers and refugees has called for an end to the outsourcing of contracts to security firms such as G4S. The event, organised by South Yorkshire Migration, Asylum and Action Group, comes amid growing concern over a new £4 billion asylum housing contract. G4S has provided accommodation for asylum seekers in South Yorkshire since 2012, after signing a regional contract, and the company has declared interest in bidding for the new scheme, expected to start in September 2019. A report by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2017 described living standards in some asylum accommodation as disgraceful, with overcrowding and infestations of vermin. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
It is ten years since Sheffield was declared the UK’s first city of sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers and celebrations are planned as part of Refugee Week 2017. A recent survey commisioned by the BBC indicated almost half of people in Sheffield (46 per cent) back the City of Sanctuary movement’s aim to welcome refugees and asylum seekers, but one third oppose the idea and 19 per cent expressed no view. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
Many asylum seekers in Sheffield face difficulties affording public transport. The COMAC Bike Project encourages people to donate their old bikes, so they can be repaired and given to asylum seekers who are referred to the organisation.
A demonstration to highlight the plight of people trying to migrate to the Europe was held in Sheffield after the UK Government took the decision not to take part in any search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean when ships are in distress.
Saturday 12 of December: two weeks before Christmas and the city centre is buzzing with activity, full of people out to buy presents for their loved ones. What’s the essence of Christmas? Even if nowadays it has become a little bit of everything, from taking a loan to getting drunk, even if you’re not a Christian yourself, you’ll probably agree that Christmas is also about caring for others as we care for ourselves (and you may go as far as admitting that it is actually in our own *interest* to care for others). That’s why we thought it totally ‘Christmassy’ to make a programme about things that matter to Sheffielders, both at home and away.
This programme will take you for a *political* stroll around the city centre. First we follow the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to the Moor: how do Sheffielders respond to the call for a boycott of Israeli goods? The discussion is there, sharp and live, ranging from a “yes I will” to “No, thank you, I’m shopping now” (why thank me?) and to outright cussing. At the Town Hall the Stop the War Coalition is gathering signatures for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. We ask them where we can find hope for the anti-war movement when the government ignored million-strong rallies; walking down Fargate and past the open-air market, we come upon the Body of Sound choir. They’re singing to raise funds for an asylum seekers support group.
Blah blah blah….Merry Christmas, have a listen, and tell us what you think!
A ‘Political’ Stroll Around the City Centre: PART 1
Stroll at Christmas 1
A ‘Political’ Stroll Around the City Centre: PART 2
Stroll at Christmas 2