Plymouth to provide sanctuary for Syrian refugee families


Following the successful relocation of three Syrian families, Plymouth has agreed to provide sanctuary to some Syrian refugee families fleeing the conflict.

Since the civil war in Syria started in 2011, 12 million Syrians have fled their homes and it is estimated 470,000 people have been killed.

Plymouth City Council has agreed to provide a safe place for approximately 10 families in the next financial year (2016/17) and a further 10 in 2017/18, with 5 more families in 2018/19. This follows an initial decision in December to accept three families of Syrian refugees, who are now settling into the city. Funding to support these refugees will be provided by the government to the council over five years with core education and health costs also met directly through government departments. Housing will be provided in the private rented sector.

Their relocation is part of the Home Office commitment announced in September last year to bring 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian Refugees to safety in the UK.

Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities for Plymouth City Council, said: “Plymouth is committed to being a welcoming city and has a proud history of providing a safe haven for those escaping war and natural disaster. We are pleased to be able to do our bit to give sanctuary to these people who are literally fleeing for their lives from war-torn Syria.

“Now the government has confirmed the funding package, we are able to announce the help we can offer. The refugees have been through very thorough security checks by the Home Office and have also had medical screening. They will be placed in private housing so won’t affect housing lists, and only represent 0.05% of the total population in Plymouth – a tiny amount, especially given our ambition to grow the city’s population.

“We have a similar experience with the Afghan families relocated under the Afghan Interpreter Relocation Scheme, which was very successful. These Afghan nationals worked as interpreters for British troops out in Helmand Province.
It is estimated the additional families will begin arriving in June 2016.

In addition, charity Open Hearts, Open Border’s has started a new appeal to send a second container of aid to refugees who will remain in camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Following their  successful winter appeal they aim to send a container of aid every 2-3 months.

For more information about refugees, and how you can donate to our local appeal  or offer your time visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/refugees