Suffolk to take in 200 Syrian refugees over next five years

Syrians gather inside a truck to protect themselves from the cold weather at the Bab al-Salam border

Syrians gather inside a truck to protect themselves from the cold weather at the Bab al-Salam border gate with Turkey, in Syria, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Bunyamin Aygun) - Credit: AP

A church leader is urging the community to be supportive after it emerged that 200 Syrian refugees will be coming to Suffolk over the next five years.

The majority of the refugees, who will be arriving from March onwards, are expected to find new homes in Ipswich.

The Reverend Canon Paul Daltry, minister of church and community engagement in the town, said: “Nothing will alienate refugees more than people not offering support.

“Friendliness is far more likely to be truly healing for people who have been through hell.

“They have lost absolutely everything, they are no longer in their own country, they have moved a number of times to get to a safe place and they have been subject to horrendous things, the sort of things that none of us here will know.

“To come to a place which makes them feel safe and loved will be the most important thing.”

The details will be discussed at a cabinet meeting of Suffolk County Council on February 23 on behalf of the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group, which is made up of the county’s district and borough councils, police, health, community and faith organisations.

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Funding of around £90,000 is due to be rubber-stamped for Ipswich-based Suffolk Refugee Support (SRS) to help those who arrive in the county during the first year. The money has been provided from central government.

In a report to the cabinet meeting, Sara Blake, head of communities and partnerships, said: “Due to the small number of families arriving at any one time, there is not expected to be a negative impact on the wider community.”

In September last year, Prime Minister David Cameron declared that Britain would respond to the refugee crisis facing Europe by taking 20,000 refugees from the camps on the borders of Syria over five years.

The Government will cover the costs of social care for each refugee who comes to the UK over a five-year period.

Any support costs beyond that point will have to be found locally.

Mr Daltry is working in partnership with SRS to help find volunteers to be “befrienders” for refugees.

“The whole point is to have people just round the corner who can deal with the little issues, like helping children get settled in school and to just be friendly face to know,” he added.

Also needed are translators who can speak Arabic or Kurmanjil; drivers with a van or trailer who can move furniture; and donations of houseware as houses are found for the refugees.

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