First Syrian refugees to arrive in Kirklees
Kirklees Council is preparing to settle two families from the war-torn country as part of the national Trailblazer scheme to take in 20,000 refugees.
Coun Graham Turner, cabinet member for resources and community safety, said the refugees may have suffered “trauma and survived torture or violence”, and that it was the council’s priority to move them into safe, secure and supported housing.
The council is one of six local authorities in Yorkshire which are funded by the government to settle the families in the run up to Christmas.
Coun Turner said: “Our priority is to move the refugees into safe, secure and supported housing.
“We have been working on this for some time to make sure we identify appropriate homes, and in the right location.
“I am sure they will need intensive support from range of services. They may have suffered trauma, survived torture and violence.”
Once the families arrive, they will be subject to assessments including health, social care, education, school places, financial benefits and support to learn English where needed.
Coun Turner said the families would be the first of a number of refugees taken in by the authority over the next two years.
The government funding to house the refugees will come from its Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme and cover housing, health and school costs.
Coun Turner said: “We are not dealing in quotas. Kirklees has made an offer based on what we feel able to fully support.
“We will know how many people are coming around four to six weeks before they arrive, but that may be longer if there are refugees with complex needs”
Under the scheme, survivors of torture or violence, women and children at risk and those who need medical care are given priority.
Refugees are still subject to immigration and Visa rules and anyone who has a criminal past will be excluded.
The resettlement programme in West Yorkshire is being run by Migration Yorkshire, a regional partnership which works with national and local government, statutory, voluntary, community and private sector organisations to manage the scheme to the region.
Coun Turner added: “I must thank all voluntary sector groups involved. We are fortunate to have the voluntary and community sector we do in Kirklees. The Kirklees multi-agency group has been working closely together for some time – and while they are working to capacity they still want to do more. We are signposting people with offers of support to that network.”