St Ives churches urge MP to stop closure of asylum hotel

Last Updated on 24 November 2023 by Ann-Marie Nye

Churches Together in St Ives and supporters are lobbying MPs after learning that asylum seekers living in a local hotel will be forced to leave their new community.

Many of the asylum seekers have been welcomed by members of churches in the area, including The Free Church (United Reformed) St Ives, making a home for themselves and friends.

However, by the end of March 2024 the government is seeking to end deals with more than 100 hotels in Conservative target seats, which accommodate asylum seekers, to shore up support on migration issues.

Calling the policy “inhumane”, the Revd Catherine Ball, Minister of The Free Church St Ives, and who is spearheading the campaign to save asylum seekers from being evicted from the area’s Dolphin Hotel, said: “When the men first came to this town, they were fearful, anxious, and lonely but are now beginning to feel a sense of acceptance, safety, and hope.

“We believe that moving the men on from St Ives would be extremely detrimental to their mental health and prospects, especially for those who have been here for over a year.

“The men at the hotel have been welcomed and supported by members of our churches, community groups, and residents in St Ives and they have shared friendship with us in return.”

In a letter, Churches Together in St Ives have urged Jonathan Djanogly MP for Huntingdon, who will soon be stepping down, to go against the policy to leave a “positive legacy” from his term in office.

On 15 November, The Supreme Court ruled against the UK government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, saying it was unlawful.


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