Council to discuss how to resettle refugees

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Local support for refugees fleeing from persecution in Syria will be discussed by Calderdale Council’s Cabinet at the next meeting on Monday 12 October 2015.

The Council has pledged to welcome 50 Syrian refugees as part of the Government’s scheme to resettle 20,000 people within the UK in the next five years. This commitment will be reviewed in April 2016, if the refugee crisis continues.

The Cabinet will be asked to confirm this decision, which will see Syrian refugees arrive in Calderdale over the next two years through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

The Government scheme will be initially funded from the Overseas Aid budget and will cover housing, health and school costs. In recent days, Government have advised they will look to extend this initial support into a longer time period and Calderdale is working with other Councils to ensure that the funding provided meets the support needed.

Cabinet will look to commit £25,000 to support local key voluntary sector organisations, such as St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax, which provide vital support to local refugees and asylum seekers.

Tim Swift, leader of Calderdale Council, said: “Calderdale has a long history of providing a new start to people who have suffered the worst kinds of hardship and persecution around the world, including in recent months welcoming families from both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Having seen the recent images of refugees fleeing the war in Syria we couldn’t fail to be moved by their plight and we’re determined as a Council to do all we can to give them the security of a new home here.

“Based on our past experience we’re planning to receive small family groups initially, on a quarterly basis, so that we can provide the support which they are likely to need as they begin to adapt to life in the UK.”

Work is also underway to investigate possible options for developing a hosting scheme within Calderdale, as many local residents have offered to host refugees within their own home. Recommendations outlining a potential hosting scheme in Calderdale should be available by early 2016.

The resettlement programme in West Yorkshire is being co-ordinated by Migration Yorkshire, a regional partnership which works with national and local government, statutory, voluntary, community and private sector organisations to manage migration to the region.