Stevenage invites local people to find out more about plans to welcome Syrian refugees

23 Nov 2015

Stevenage Borough Council and several of its partner organisations are inviting local people and organisations to a public event where we will share plans to support some of those people currently in refugee camps in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey after they were forced to flee their homes to avoid conflict in Syria.

The open event is from 10am to 12 noon on Saturday 28 November in the council’s offices in Stevenage town centre.

Stevenage has offered to accommodate and support 20 people in family groups, from the first phase of the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. Council staff are working with local landlords to find homes in the private rented sector for these families, and partner organisations, including Hertfordshire County Council, East and North Herts CCG and the police, have committed to support their resettlement. The Government has allocated funding to pay for the families’ housing and other associated costs.

Interested local people and organisations who may be able to offer additional help are invited to come along to the meeting on 28 November, to learn more about what’s planned and how they can get involved.

Councillor Sharon Taylor, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “Stevenage has a proud history of housing people in need from other parts of the country and the world – many of our original new town residents came here to build new lives after the devastation caused in London in World War II – and extending an invitation to Syrian people means we are continuing this tradition.

“Along with our partners, we have carefully considered the level of support we can offer and, like other authorities up and down the country, we are working closely with the Home Office and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide whatever help is necessary.”

She continued: “We have all been shocked and distressed by the reports of people forced out of their homes because of the ongoing conflict in Syria and it’s natural to want to help. By working with the Government, we can be sure that our support is going where there is genuine need and that rigorous checks will have taken place.

“People in Stevenage have already been generous in their offers of support and encouragement and I’m sure this will continue over coming months as the resettlement programme gathers pace. I would encourage you all to take the time to come along on 28 November to learn more about what’s planned, find out where further help is needed and assuage any concerns you might have.”

Anyone is welcome to attend the public meeting, it is free and there is no need to book. It takes place in the Council Chamber at Daneshill House in Stevenage town centre from 10am until 12 noon. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives from some of the agencies providing support, and to ask questions.  If you are interested in this issue but are not able to attend on Saturday, we will be posting regular updates on our website at www.stevenage.gov.uk.

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