Thanks for help­ingpg ‘our’ refugees

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Townhall View - John Holdich

Ear­lier this year we com­mit­ted to re­set­tle 100 Syr­ian refugees over the next five years as part of the gov­ern­ment’s scheme to re­set­tle 20,000 peo­ple across the UK by 2020.

Five fam­i­lies made up of a to­tal of 23 refugees will be com­ing to live in our city in the com­ing weeks - 13 of them will be chil­dren.

A number of res­i­dents told us they wanted to help wel­come them to the city, so last week we pub­lished a list of items needed to help furnish the houses for the fam­i­lies. You can find out more at www.peter­bor­ough.gov.uk/ syr­i­an­refugees

Peter­bor­ough has a proud his­tory of wel­com­ing those that need our help to the city and the re­sponse to the do­na­tion drive so far shows that this is still very much the case

We’ve had of­fers of beds, chil­dren’s toys, vouch­ers for days out, pushchairs, clothes and much more.

Thank you to those that can, and have, sup­ported the ar­rival of these refugees, all of which will have been liv­ing in camps af­ter be­ing forced to leave their homes for their own safety.

We are also work­ing hand in hand with some won­der­ful lo­cal char­i­ties to wel­come and sup­port the refugees in­clud­ing CareZone, Chil­dren of Adam, PARCA, KingsGate Com­mu­nity Church, PCVS and Rain­bow Saver Credit Union.

Any do­na­tions over and above what is re­quired will be dis­trib­uted to other city fam­i­lies in need through the Peter­bor­ough Com­mu­nity As­sis­tance Scheme. This is an initiative we set up a number of years ago and helps around 350 fam­i­lies each month.

We agreed to re­set­tle the Syr­ian fam­i­lies af­ter re­ceiv­ing as­sur­ances from the gov­ern­ment that they would provide fund­ing to cover all the health, so­cial and ed­u­ca­tional costs for all in­di­vid­ual refugees. This is in ad­di­tion to them be­ing able to ac­cess ben­e­fits, such as hous­ing ben­e­fit to pay their rent.

The fam­i­lies will move into homes that were ei­ther empty prop­er­ties which have been brought back into use or houses in the pri­vate rented sec­tor; in or­der to not put ad­di­tional pres­sure on the city’s so­cial hous­ing wait­ing list.

We be­lieve this is the right bal­ance to be able to help those in need with­out putting sig­nif­i­cant ex­tra pres­sure on ser­vices in the city.

It’s been a good few weeks for our schools with record break­ing GCSE re­sults and Alevel re­sults above the na­tional av­er­age. More chil­dren than ever be­fore achieved A* to C in English at GCSE and there was also a leap in the number of stu­dents achiev­ing five A* to C grades in­clud­ing maths and English.

The re­sults are fan­tas­tic and a credit to the young peo­ple who worked hard to achieve them, as well as the teach­ers, other school staff and par­ents who have sup­ported them to get the best grades pos­si­ble.

Cur­rently 86 per cent of our schools are judged good or bet­ter by Of­sted and these re­sults show that our schools are also rais­ing the bar when it comes to at­tain­ment.

I know that all of our schools are com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing at­tain­ment fur­ther and we will con­tinue to sup­port and chal­lenge them as we want our re­sults to be pro­gress­ing year on year.

Iwas sad to hear of the pass­ing of for­mer coun­cil leader Neville San­ders on Fri­day. I’ve been a coun­cil­lor for 39 years and I can hon­estly say that he was one of the best, if not the best, leader I have worked un­der.

He un­der­stood the views of the man on the street and he worked hard to im­prove life for them. Be­neath the ex­te­rior, he had a car­ing side and he was ter­ri­bly gen­er­ous.

No mat­ter your views, Neville clearly made his mark on the city and he will be re­mem­bered for many years to come.

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