With the City Council’s support, in 2007 Sheffield became the UK’s first City of Sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers – a city that prides itself on the welcome it provides to those in need of safety.
This has been reaffirmed today (6 July) through the decision to create a new role for an elected councillor to become the city’s ‘Migrant Champion’. The motion was brought by Cllr Alexi Dimond and seconded by Cllr Maleiki Haybe.
The councillor elected to the role will be a point of contact for the city’s migrants to voice their concerns and will work to ensure that the council’s services are open to migrants who need them.
Commenting after the meeting, Cllr Dimond said: “I'm delighted that Sheffield Council voted unanimously to reaffirm Sheffield as a City of Sanctuary.
“We sent a clear message to the government that we stand in solidarity with people seeking sanctuary, that we reject the anti-refugee laws, and that we support the right to work for asylum seekers. We voted to have an elected member who will be a Migrant Champion and ensure that we remain a welcoming city, the UK's first City of Sanctuary."
The decision followed a debate regarding the ongoing cost of living crisis where Cllr Douglas Johnson stated: “We need to recognise that not everyone comes to the cost-of-living crisis equally.
“There are many people in entrenched poverty in the city, whether they have migrated to Sheffield or were born here. But being a migrant or having English as a second language is an additional barrier."