A MULTI-CULTURAL community group helping immigrants settle in Huddersfield must close because of lack of funding.
Cultures United can no longer afford to keep supporting projects at the St Patrick’s Centre on Trinity Street.
The charity works with up to 450 people every week who are newly arrived in town.
They include students, economic migrants from Europe and asylum seekers and refugees mainly from the Middle East and Africa.
Daner Nuhman, an advice worker for Cultures United, said: “Where will all these people go now and what will happen to them now?
“We have people coming to us from all over Kirklees.
“They will get lost in the system and it will put more pressure on the benefits system.
“There will be more misunderstandings with language and racism and these people will not be getting the right advice. It will be more costly really to Kirklees.”
Daner has called on Kirklees Council to step in and provide the group with £20,000 funding they need to continue.
Previously the project has attracted funding from the National Lottery and from charitable trusts.
Daner, who is Kurdish and came to Huddersfield from Northern Iraq in 2000, said: “Really, Kirklees have been using us and have referred people to us and now there is going to be a lot more pressure on them.
“So I think they should step forward and help us now.”
Over 14 groups supported by Cultures United will now have nowhere to go, including an Over 60s group, Belly Dancing Classes, the Space to Grow cafe, African drumming and Taekwondo classes.
The organisation also runs a drop-in advice service assisting people new to the country with various issues such as access to doctors and dentists, opening bank accounts, finding housing and employment and getting a national insurance number.
Cultures United has been given a temporary place at Voluntary Action Kirklees.
Daner said: “It is so sad really. I think it is very important because we were a base where people could get support.
“When I first came to live in Huddersfield I wanted to play football but I didn’t know how or where I could go to get involved.
“It took me three years to play a game of football. I used to go down to a field and watch people playing and then I introduced myself.
“But in 2005 we started our own football club and they are in the Huddersfield District League.”
Brian Cross, chairman of Cultures United, said: “We are sad to have to be leaving the building because we’ve had a fantastic presence creating considerable benefits to a wide range of communities.
“We’ve also contributed importantly to the local economy and cultural life.”