Stratford-on-Avon District Council welcomed its first two Syrian refugee families in late November 2016 through the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme.
The families have settled in Stratford-upon-Avon town, where there is sufficient capacity with minimal impact on resources. Services are available more readily, with access to English language classes, GPs, good public transport links and a welcoming and supportive community.
The families are beginning to integrate into the local community with attendance at schools, nurseries and higher education providers. Experienced support workers and interpreters have provided intensive support for the families on arrival, helping them settle into neighbourhoods, attend hospital appointments, enrol at schools and nurseries and access and engage with other important services.
A Befriending Service led by Coventry and Warwickshire Mind has been set up to provide support for the families to access information that makes life easier, including places to shop and socialise, places of worship, and local groups and local activities that they may wish to be part of. If you would like to find out more about becoming a befriender then please contact Fatima Ali, Syrian Refugee Befriending Co-ordinator, on 07852 010174 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Accommodation for the families has been secured from the private rented sector and the current priority is to identify properties in Stratford-upon-Avon town for the families arriving later this year. If you have a property available to rent and are interested in letting it to Syrian refugee families, then please contact Carol Roberts on 01789 260112 or email@example.com for further information.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council has committed to resettle 12 families from refugee camps into the town of Stratford-upon-Avon over the next four years. As part of the resettlement process, all households considered for resettlement are needs-assessed and security vetted by a number of refugee assistance, government and military agencies, and local residents should be reassured that these refugee arrivals represent some of the most vulnerable households, who cannot continue to live in refugee camps.
Councillor Robert Vaudry says: “Most local residents will be familiar with the terrible situations many refugees from the conflict in Syria are experiencing. The District Council is very happy to be playing its part in this UK-wide humanitarian effort to provide sanctuary to the most vulnerable families through the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme. I hope that these families feel welcomed by the local community, integrate successfully and come to enjoy living in Stratford-upon-Avon.
"It is hugely reassuring to know that there are so many local people committed to the effort to resettle these refugee families."
The District Council's Cabinet has also pledged to offer support to the current refugee crisis and agreed to do the following:
The District Council is interested in hearing from and working with any individuals or local organisations that are organising collections in order to signpost residents willing to make suitable donations. If you are organising a collection, please contact the council on 01789 267575.