Appeal to groups to help Syrian refugees

Cllr. John Donaldson
Cllr. John Donaldson
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Community groups which can offer support to Syrian refugee families are invited to a meeting later this month.

On March 15, Cherwell District Council will be holding the community group meeting as part of its participation in the government’s vulnerable persons relocation scheme.

Anyone with an interest in helping families fleeing the civil war is invited to attend.

The council will be updating attendees on the local and national situation regarding the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Individuals, voluntary and faith groups can also tell the meeting how they may be able to offer assistance to the new arrivals.

John Donaldson, councillor for housing, said: “The plight of the families fleeing the Syrian civil war has moved a great many of us in the district.

“We are now inviting local people to come and talk to us about how they may be able to help these families to settle in successfully.

“We are working hard with private sector landlords to find homes for the refugees, but as well as bricks and mortar, the families will need to feel welcomed into the community.

“Part of this can be achieved through the support with language, translation and settling in that will be provided as part of the government’s package of support. But we are also very keen to establish strong links with the local community to make the refugees’ lives in Cherwell as fulfilling as possible. I invite anyone with an interest in helping welcome Syrian families to Cherwell to attend this meeting and to discuss how we can work together to welcome them.”

In 2015, prime minister David Cameron announced the UK would relocate 20,000 Syrian refugees during the lifetime of the current parliament. They will come from camps in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq.

Cherwell’s pledge to accept six families will see the first arrivals in the coming months, once suitable accommodation is identified. The resettlement programme is funded by the Home Office for five years.

The community group meeting will start at 6pm, in the council chamber at Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury.

There will be a series of short presentations at 6pm and officers will remain in the council chamber until 7pm to meet anyone wishing to drop in to pledge their support. For more information email James Taylor at communityservices@
cherwellandsouthnorthants.gov.uk.