Asylum seekers set to be moved out of Bromsgrove's Ibis Hotel - The Bromsgrove Standard

Asylum seekers set to be moved out of Bromsgrove's Ibis Hotel

Bromsgrove Editorial 27th Oct, 2023 Updated: 27th Oct, 2023   0

BROMSGROVE’S Ibis hotel in Aston Fields which has housed asylum seekers for the last year is set to close in its current role with everyone there being moved on with just days notice.

The Bromsgrove and District Asylum Seekers (B&DAS) group which has been providing help and support to those living there have slammed the decision as ‘cruel’ and ‘inhumane’.

Johannah Dyer from the group told the Standard: “We have been told the official date it is closing is November 24 but most of them will be moved on by this Wednesday.

“We had managed to get most of them into college and they were doing really well – they’ve only been there four weeks and are now having to move on.

“They have also been learning English through lessons we and the BRWR have put on for them and met up each week to play football which we also we organised – of course all that will be coming to an end as well.

“A lot of them say they wanted to remain here because they have been given a warm welcome by local people so, as you can imagine, now they are distressed, concerned and very upset.

“Friendship groups have been broken up – they do not know where they are going to and will have to start again, making new friends and restarting their lives just a year after they did it last time.”

She added many of the asylum seekers had been volunteering in the local community, including in charity shops.

It is believed the vast majority will be transferred to other hotels across the Midlands.

Ms Dyer added: “As far as we know this is the first of 50 hotels that have housed asylum seekers and are now being shut for that purpose.

“The housing officer who was in charge has also been given notice – she was excellent at what she did, as were all the catering staff and they will also have no jobs now.”

Yvonne Rendell, the chair of Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees, echoed B&DAS’ views and thanked all the volunteers for the support they had given, including with English lessons and football sessions.

She said: “Moving asylum seekers with just four days notice and for purely political reasons, is another demonstration of how vulnerable people seeking sanctuary are being treated like cattle.

“These are people who’ve been through often unimaginable trauma to seek sanctuary in the UK. They’re simply human beings just like us. This latest move is cruel and it’s heartbreaking.

“They’ve formed relationships, become familiar with the town in which they live and started to create a new life.

“All of this will be lost when they’re herded away in a move designed to create headlines and save money.”

Bromsgrove District Council leader, Coun Karen May said: “While, as a council, we have worked with partners to monitor the impact on our frontline services and our communities, the arrangements around the hotel accommodation, then, and now, are all the responsibility of the Home Office.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Office continues to provide safe accommodation for asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, as we work to end the use of hotels which are costing UK taxpayers £8.2million-a-day.

“Accommodation is allocated on a no-choice basis and individuals may be moved to other locations in line with the Allocation of Accommodation guidance.

“We will work closely with accommodation providers and local authorities to manage the exit process in a way which limits the impact on partners and service users alike.”

So what now for the Ibis Hotel?

An Ibis spokesperson said: “Where temporary contracts between hotel owners and the government come to an end, we will work closely with the owners to assess each property and do whatever is required to ensure they are fully returned to the standards required of our hotels before re-opening them to guests.

“We look forward to these hotels welcoming guests in due course.”

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