REDDITCH has been chosen to house the first three families of Syrian refugees coming to Worcestershire.
The group, comprising eight people in total, are expected to arrive towards the end of June after the county council engaged Refugee Action to deliver its ‘Refugee Integration and Independence Service’ package.
The service will support all adults, young people and children accepted by the county’s local authorities under the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement (VPR) scheme.
Of the families coming to Redditch, two are linked and will be resettled in the same property.
The county is liaising with the Home Office to arrange for a further four families to arrive in mid-July who will be resettled in two properties in Kidderminster and a further two properties in Redditch.
Work is also underway to approach private sector landlords to identify properties in other districts to resettle further families later this year to meet the county’s commitment to resettle 50 Syrian refugees in 2016.
Councillor Bill Hartnett, Leader of Redditch Borough Council said: “I am delighted that Redditch is resettling the very first Syrian refugee families arriving in Worcestershire. It’s an historic moment, and I’m proud that our borough can play such an important role in changing these families’ lives for the better.
“We have been working closely with a range of agencies, including the county council, education, health, Refugee Action and private landlords, to ensure families are well-supported from day one. Our local communities are keen to help out too of course so everything’s in place, ready for their arrival.”
The county is also appealing for private landlords to come forward and offer properties suitable for the housing of refugees in other districts to meet its commitment to resettle 50 Syrian refugees in 2016.
A spokesperson for Refugee Action said: “Refugee Action is delighted to be working with our partners to welcome Syrian refugees across the county over the coming months.
“Building on over 30 years’ experience of resettlement, our dedicated staff and volunteers look forward to working closely with our partners to ensure these individuals and families, who have faced unimaginable horrors, are enabled to rebuild their lives in dignity.”
The resettlement scheme is funded from the Foreign Aid budget with further resources invested into the local NHS and Education by the Government. These additional resources will help to ensure that any impact on services for local residents will be minimised.