Officers to help refugees settle
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’