Open­ing the doors to Syr­ian refugees

Towns could ac­cept those flee­ing terror

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

Coun­cil­lors are set to meet to­day ( Wed­nes­day) to dis­cuss the practicalities of bring­ing Syr­ian refugees to Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang.

Mem­bers of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee will be asked to note a pa­per com­mit­ting the au­thor­ity to play its part in the Syr­ian Vul­ner­a­ble Per­sons Re­lo­ca­tion Scheme.

The coun­cil leader, Ed­die McAvoy, told the Re­former this week there was a pos­si­bil­ity the two towns would play their part, but said de­tailed plans could not be made un­til the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and Home Of­fice agreed on fund­ing and sup­port.

Coun­cil­lor McAvoy said: “We have given a com­mit­ment we will take refugees once the practicalities are sorted out.”

David McCle­mont , from Cam­bus­lang, helped with a high­pro­file cam­paign to aid refugees, and he said the two towns would play their part : “Af­ter see­ing the gen­eros­ity of the peo­ple of Cam­bus­lang and Ruther­glen, I’ve no doubt that any refugees that came her would be made to feel welcome, with peo­ple will­ing to put them up in their own homes if need be.

“How­ever, that’s not a longterm so­lu­tion which is why it’s im­por­tant that the coun­cil and cen­tral gov­ern­ment work out the de­tails of their re­lo­ca­tion scheme as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Coun­cil­lors will meet to­day (Wed­nes­day) to dis­cuss the pos­si­ble re­lo­ca­tion of Syr­ian refugees to Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang.

A South La­nark­shire Coun­cil re­port to the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee states that lo­cal au­thor­ity par­tic­i­pa­tion is crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of the Syr­ian Vul­ner­a­ble Per­sons Re­lo­ca­tion Scheme, along with sup­port from the vol­un­tary sec­tor and key lo­cal part­ner agen­cies.

The coun­cil have al­ready in­di­cated their will­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate.

The Prime Min­is­ter an­nounced on Septem­ber 7 that the UK will take 20,000 refugees by 2020. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has stated it will take its “fair share” of refugees.

The First Min­is­ter con­firmed ini­tial fund­ing to sup­port prepa­ra­tions for ar­rival and in­te­gra­tion of refugees in terms of hous­ing, lan­guage sup­port, health and any ad­di­tional sup­port needs, ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, be­friend­ing and mak­ing links with and pre­par­ing host com­mu­ni­ties.

Fund­ing will also help to con­nect refugees with rel­e­vant groups and agen­cies and se­cure im­me­di­ate per­sonal needs.

There are more than 3.2mil­lion refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jor­dan, Le­banon and Tur­key and al­most half of Syria’s pre- con­flict pop­u­la­tion of 21.1mil­lion is now dis­placed.

Those who are ac­cepted un­der SVPRS are granted hu­man­i­tar­ian pro­tec­tion for five years with full ac­cess to em­ploy­ment and public funds, with the right to ap­ply for in­def­i­nite leave to re­main in the UK be­fore the end of their hu­man­i­tar­ian pro­tec­tion.

Coun­cil leader Ed­die McAvoy said many is­sues still need to be ironed out: “Right now the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and Home Of­fice do not have de­tails about how this is go­ing to work or how it is go­ing to be fi­nanced.

“We need to know what kind of hous­ing they will need, if they need to be near schools and work things out with health boards. How much sup­port will we get for that?

“If peo­ple want to be housed to­gether we are very lim­ited for hous­ing so we may need to look at the pri­vate sec­tor.”

The re­port states that those iden­ti­fied may bring their im­me­di­ate fam­ily, with most fam­i­lies com­pris­ing four to six peo­ple.

The scheme pro­vides sup­port for sur­vivors of tor­ture and vi­o­lence, women and chil­dren at risk and those in need of med­i­cal care, although clar­i­fi­ca­tion is still re­quired about how health and so­cial care costs will be met.

The UK Gov­ern­ment pro­vides fund­ing to sup­port re­cep­tion costs, ed­u­ca­tion and English for speak­ers of other lan­guages (ESOL) pro­vi­sion.

Coun­cil­lors will be told other is­sues to be con­sid­ered are whether the refugees should be re­set­tled in one place or across South La­nark­shire and whether ac­com­mo­dat­ing those in great­est need will risk in greater pres­sure on lo­cal ser­vices.

The re­port states: “It is im­pos­si­ble to say at the mo­ment how many peo­ple SLC may be able to ac­com­mo­date be­cause of the is­sues about ac­cess to ser­vices and fam­i­lies and rel­a­tives want­ing to be near one another.”

We need to know what kind of hous­ing they will need

Vol­un­teers Ross Gal­braith, Ron­nie Camp­bell and Tommy Todd pre­par­ing the sup­plies Stranded

Refugees protest at the Hungary/

Croa­tia bor­der last

week

Open arms A refugee sup­porter in Glas­gowgets his mes­sage across

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