Today is World Refugee Day 2017. It’s difficult to imagine just how harrowing it must be to be in so much danger that you are forced to flee your home and travel hundreds of miles, often in the most dangerous conditions, to a country where you may know no one. My father’s generation saw 61 million Europeans become refugees as a result of war. Today Europe provides refuge to those fleeing war and persecution around the world. In Sheffield we became the UK’s first City of Sanctuary.
But gaining refugee status isn’t straightforward. Asylum seekers must be able to convince authorities that they are under threat in their homeland. It’s not always easy to provide the evidence. Many asylum seekers who are refused refugee status cannot return and so end up destitute in the UK.
This is where Assist Sheffield comes in. It’s a great Sheffield charity focusing on destitution among asylum seekers. I have worked closely with Assist on a number of issues and I’ve seen their amazing work helping asylum seekers who have little or nothing and have been forced to live on the streets. They have lots of great volunteers, but need funds too.
Assist are holding an “Auction of Promises” to raise money for their vital work – including film tickets, Spanish classes, adventure course passes, homemade cake, Sharks tickets – and I’ve contributed a personal tour of Parliament and lunch. Please take a look at these brilliant promises and make a bid: