Nottingham City Council has secured a grant from the Home Office to bolster its efforts in supporting asylum seekers.
The grant, titled “Asylum Dispersal Fund 2021/22,” is valued at £447,250 and seeks retrospective approval for the receipt of the Asylum Dispersal Scheme Grant for the fiscal year 2021/22.
The decision also delegates responsibility to the Asylum and Resettlement Manager for the day-to-day management and operational decisions regarding the grant.
Nottingham has been an Asylum Dispersal Area since 2002 but had not received any funding for this purpose until now.
In 2022, all local authority areas in England, Scotland, and Wales were expected to participate in the new system, facilitating the transition from hotels to more suitable dispersed accommodation.
The grant is intended to support the Asylum Seeker Dispersal Scheme, helping to alleviate specific local pressures on already overstretched services. The funds will be used to support existing and current services for asylum seekers, addressing the high demand and limited capacity challenges faced by these services.
The decision also emphasized the importance of the Asylum Dispersal Scheme in supporting local authorities with a grant payment of £250 per asylum seeker in Home Office Supported Asylum Seeker accommodation as of 27 March 2022. The grant will be instrumental in ensuring that services for asylum seekers are adequately resourced, especially given that these services have been delivering and developing quality provision without additional funding.
The Council had considered non-participation as an option but decided against it, as it aligns with a Council Plan priority. Not participating would result in a loss of income, especially since Nottingham is already a dispersal area. The funding will be instrumental in continuing the work with this group of individuals.
The decision also highlighted potential crime and disorder implications, noting that migrants, being a vulnerable cohort, are at risk of hate crime, grooming, and other antisocial behaviors. The Council plans to work closely with partners to ensure key messages around hate crime and antisocial behaviour are delivered.