Two Syrian Refugee families will start their new lives in Plymouth today (Tuesday 15 December) as part of a national scheme led by the Home Office, to provide sanctuary to those fleeing conflict. The families are being accommodated in private sector housing. We are not providing any further details on the families and their location, in order to protect their privacy.
The Government announced in September that the UK would provide sanctuary to 20,000 Syrian Refugees over the next five years, and has confirmed a target of up to 1,000 refugees will be flown over to the UK by Christmas.
Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities for Plymouth City Council, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer sanctuary to these families who have been forced out of their homes by the ongoing violence in Syria.
“Plymouth has a proud history of providing a safe haven for those escaping war and natural disaster, and we are pleased to be able to do our bit to help with this humanitarian crisis.
“As a welcoming city, and one of a number of dispersal cities for asylum seekers in the UK, we are well prepared to be able to support these vulnerable people in their time of need. The council recently welcomed a number of Afghan refugees who worked as interpreters to help our armed forces in Helmand Province, and we have the networks in place with the local voluntary sector to be able to assist.”
While the Syrian Refugee scheme is being supported by the Home Office at a national level, since the announcement in September donations have flooded in and this is being coordinated locally by Faraday Fearnside. Faraday and her team of volunteers at Open Hearts open Borders are arranging to ship a container of essential items and warm clothing to Syrian Refugees who are having to spend the winter in refugee camps.
Faraday said: “This is welcome news, we have been inundated since we first launched the local donations scheme and we had to shut down the collection points briefly whilst we sorted through the mountain of donated goods. I am pleased to confirm they have now reopened. There are certain items that we will definitely need.”
The main items they need donating are:
- Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrushes, shower gel, soap, razors, shampoo
- Shelter – sleeping bags, thermal blankets, foil blankets, solar torches, first aid
- New essential baby items – Baby food, baby milk, nappies/pull ups, wet wipes, warm baby clothes
- Winter clothing (for children and adults) – fleeces, jumpers, hoodies, sweatshirts, winter coats, new socks and underwear, new or nearly new hats, scarves, gloves
Details of how you can help Syrian Refugees by donating goods are on the council’s website together with a list of items that are needed. All goods donated will go to the relief of hardship suffered by Syrian refugees wherever they are in the UK or living in refugee camps abroad. For further details visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/refugees
For information or to assist with Plymouth’s Aid Container for Syria appeal, email firstname.lastname@example.org