A total of 240 Syrian refugees will be housed and supported in West Sussex during the next four years – with some families expected to arrive early in 2016.
West Sussex County Council has joined with borough and district councils, health and emergency services, faith groups, charities, and voluntary and community groups, to formally agree to help house and support the refugees.
The council says that work is underway to ensure everything is in place to welcome people from the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Scheme.
The Government has pledged that 20,000 refugees are to be relocated across the whole of the country over the next four years. It has asked all local authorities across the country if they are willing to take part in the scheme and, if so, how many refugees can be helped in each area.
Louise Goldsmith, West Sussex County Council Leader, said the county was determined to play its part in helping the most vulnerable victims of the conflict.
She said: “As a county we have pledged to take 240 refugees over the next four years. There are lots of details to sort out but this is about helping those refugees in the greatest need including people who are vulnerable, women, children or those who are in need of medical care. As a county we want to do what we can to help.
“Thank you to all those people who have already come forward with offers of support. We are collating all those offers and are also keen to hear from people and groups who want to help.”
The county council says it would be particularly keen to hear from:
• Voluntary and community groups or individuals who are keen to help
• Syrian communities already in West Sussex
• Arabic groups that might be in a position to offer practical support and welcome
• Faith groups that are expressing an interest in providing support
• Any groups that have experience or expertise in supporting refugees
• Private sector landlords
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The Syrian Vulnerable Person Scheme prioritises those who cannot be supported in their own country. The Home Office checks their eligibility, carries out medical assessments and security checks.
Over the coming weeks the county council will be working with borough and district councils and other groups to finalise plans to welcome the refugees.
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