Support continuing for Syrian refugees resettled in Gloucestershire
Support is continuing for more than 300 Syrian refugees who have been resettled in Gloucestershire in the last five years.
The Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme began in 2015 and aimed to provide sanctuary to 20,000 refugees across the UK by 2020.
It is funded by the Home Office and has been managed by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) in our county, with the support of the six district councils.
Over the five-year period the county has welcomed 80 Syrian families, 326 refugees in total. This includes 33 families settled in Cheltenham, 27 families in Gloucester, nine in Stroud, six in the Forest of Dean, three in the Cotswolds and two in Tewkesbury.
The most vulnerable people in need from Syria are identified by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, prioritising people who cannot be supported where they are. It is especially aimed at women and children at risk, people in severe need of medical care and survivors of torture and violence, amongst others.
GFRS then works closely with health, education and social care teams to make sure their needs can be fully met and provides funding to our contracted provider, who support the refugees and help them to build a new life. We will soon be going out to tender to secure support services for the next three years.
The families are given support to help them integrate into our society, for example assisting with medical needs, arranging English lessons and getting children into education, helping them find jobs and setting up their new home. The properties are either council or housing association owned or have been provided by private landlords.
Due to Covid-19 the arrival of more refugees is currently on hold and a new global resettlement scheme will be announced by government when the 20,000 target has been reached.
Cllr Dave Norman, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member responsible for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s pleasing to know that these refugees have been given a warm welcome in Gloucestershire and that support will be continuing. These people are in desperate need of assistance when they arrive and I’m grateful to Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service for the excellent job they’ve done in coordinating this programme.”
Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for adult social care, added: “These vulnerable people have been given the support needed to rebuild their lives thanks to a united response from councils and partner organisations. I would like to thank the public for helping these people to integrate and our fantastic network of partners who have made sure they have been given the right care and support.”