County scheme welcomes first Syrian refugees

Published Monday 5 September 2016

Leicestershire has welcomed the first Syrian refugees to be housed in the county as part of a government relocation scheme.

Two families arrived at the end of August and have been moved in to privately-rented accommodation by Charnwood Borough Council as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (SVPRS).

District councils in Leicestershire and Rutland County Council are preparing to help house and support 50 refugee families over the next five years under the SVPRS. They are liaising closely with government and other agencies to ensure appropriate support is provided.

Charnwood is co-ordinating the SVPRS for Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leigh Harper-Davies, Charnwood Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The councils involved in this scheme have all agreed to help a certain number of refugees each year and I am pleased to say that we have welcomed our first two families.

“They have fled what is a huge humanitarian crisis in Syria and I hope they will be welcomed into our communities.

“We have a duty to help people in genuine need and that’s what this scheme is about. The councils involved have all agreed to assist the government in its pledge to relocate 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.”

The two families were met at the airport by an officer from the Council, interpreters and a support worker. They were taken to a community venue for breakfast before being transported to their properties in Charnwood.

The next families are due to arrive later this year and will be housed by other authorities.

Charnwood, Blaby, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Melton, North West Leicestershire and Rutland councils have all agreed to take part in the SVPRS. Leicestershire County Council is working to ensure the appropriate provision of school places and social care are available where required.

The councils will mainly use private sector housing.

Under the SVPRS, the Home Office provides councils with £8,520 per person, per year.

The refugees are from designated camps close to the Syrian border or areas around those camps. They will not be coming from Calais or Europe.