Press Release 170915Open Letter to the Prime Minister
Re: Refugee Crisis
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing on behalf of the people of my church and parish, St Saviour’s High Green in north Sheffield.  This community struggles with poverty and deprivation, living at the far edge of a post-industrial city.  Nevertheless, the people have warm Yorkshire hearts and have been deeply moved in recent days by the ongoing refugee crisis that is affecting the Middle East, and increasingly, Europe.  It is as a result of many conversations with people in my area that I’m writing to you.  Whilst recognising that the situation is very complex and that there are no easy answers to the issues that you and other world leaders are struggling with, we do feel that we need to be ready to offer practical support to any refugees that eventually find themselves arriving in north Sheffield.
Almost three years ago my church launched St Saviour’s Community Project working in partnership with many others in the community, and this has grown and prospered since then.  I have the privilege of chairing this project.  The foodbank is the centre of the project, but we also run a shop selling used clothes, household goods, children’s toys & buggies and furniture for next to nothing, we also host a job club and a micro finance savings & loans scheme.  Additionally, we run the Friday Feast, a meal that only costs £1 per adult and children eat free, which is our contribution to fighting child poverty.  We are currently developing a community allotment scheme together with a toolbank.
Having developed our project so far, I believe that we are in a good position to offer significant support to refugees arriving in our area.  Of course we are not in a position to provide housing, but we can offer food, meals, clothing, household goods, children’s toys etc as well as a warm Yorkshire welcome.  I know that many people in the area, including our local schools, would rally round and be part of this support.
Therefore I am writing to offer this support as a practical expression of the support that many people in my community would happy to provide if the need arose.
I offer you our prayers and support for you and your cabinet at this difficult time as you handle this challenging issue.
Yours sincerely,
Simon D Bessant
Vicar & Chair of St Saviour’s Community Project
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