Of­fi­cers to help refugees set­tle

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - News -

Two sup­port of­fi­cers are be­ing re­cruited by the city coun­cil to help re­set­tle 10 refugee Syr­ian fam­i­lies in the district over the next five years.

The £28,000-a-year posts are gov­ern­ment-funded and the city coun­cil says the refugees will be found ac­com­mo­da­tion in the pri­vate rented sec­tor, not in coun­cilowned prop­er­ties.

Spokesman Leo Whit­lock said: “We are com­mit­ted to look­ing af­ter two fam­i­lies a year and al­ready have two liv­ing in Can­ter­bury, and are ex­pect­ing a new fam­ily to ar­rive shortly.

“The sup­port we give is highly in­ten­sive. These fam­i­lies are vul­ner­a­ble and have ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant trauma.

“We want to help them to ad­just to their new life, teach them about our cul­ture and help them to bud­get, pay bills, ac­cess ed­u­ca­tion and look af­ter their health.” Razia Shar­iff, who is chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Kent Refugee Ac­tion Net­work, says the ap­point­ment of two sup­port staff is jus­ti­fied be­cause of the in­ten­sity of the work in­volved.

She said: “The fam­i­lies ar­rive with noth­ing and there is a lot of ne­go­ti­a­tion needed with all the stake­hold­ers in­volved, in­clud­ing the le­gal­i­ties, ben­e­fits, hous­ing and health ser­vices.

“On top of that, you have the lan­guage and ed­u­ca­tion sup­port, and help­ing the fa­ther get a job. It is all very in­ten­sive and needed to give these fam­i­lies a new start.”

‘These fam­i­lies are vul­ner­a­ble and have ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant trauma’

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