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Northern Refugee Centre set to close due to lack of funding

The charity has helped refugees in Yorkshire for over three decades

Jon Stone
Tuesday 15 December 2015 17:30 GMT
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Syrian refugees at a camp in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley
Syrian refugees at a camp in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley (Getty Images)

A charity that has helped refugees for over three decades is to close because of a lack of funding, it has announced.

The Northern Refugee Centre in Yorkshire, which provides support, advice and advocacy for refugees in the county, will shut down in January.

The closure comes despite an increase in the number of refugees the UK is set to take on account of the dramatic refugee crisis going on at Europe’s frontiers.

The Government’s Syrian refugee resettlement programme is due to bring families from that war zone to the area covered by the charity’s services this week.

The Government is providing a significant amount of aid to refugees living in camps in the Middle East – around £1.1bn – but the response domestically has been criticised.

Over the summer the Government quietly cut payments to house, educate and look after orphaned and separated child refugees living in Britain.

The leaders of affected councils described those changes to the little-known UASC payment as “completely unacceptable”.

The UK has pledged to take 20,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the Parliament – a significantly lower number than the million Germany is expected to take this year alone.

A further three million refugees are expected to arrive in the EU by the end of 2016, according to European Commission estimates published in the autumn.

The UK has also refused to participate in the EU’s programme to redistribute refugees from over-strained European economies in southern Europe to elsewhere in the bloc.

Most services run by the Northern Refugee Centre are set to be transferred to other agencies and 18 of 27 staff are set to be moved elsewhere.

The charity was trying to plug an estimated £150,000 hole in its funding and had been engaged in a “prolonged attempt to sort future sustainability for the organisation, with negotiations with funders, local authorities and a public appeal”, according to a statement.

The Government has been coy on the exact number of Syrian refugees the UK has taken under its extended scheme but expects to settle around 1,000 in the UK by the end of 2015.

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