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Leader of SLDC backs Cumbria's commitment to help Syrian refugees

28 September 2016
 
Councillor Giles Archibald, leader of SLDC, has welcomed Cumbria Leadership Board’s (CLB) commitment to offer to help resettle Syrian refugees and their families in Cumbria.

The leaders of all local authorities across Cumbria form the CLB and they have worked together to secure the commitment.

Councillor Archibald said: “I am delighted that Cumbria’s local authorities have agreed to work together to establish how many Syrian refugees can be resettled in Cumbria over the next three years.

“In South Lakeland we have always been willing to offer assistance to help ease the plight of these people and I am happy that we are now able to progress with this process.”

The commitment of Cumbrian authorities to help resettle Syrian refugees was delayed due to the significant impact Storm Desmond had on residents across the county. 

Councillor Archibald added: “Immediately following the impacts of December’s flooding Cumbria’s priority was, quite rightly, to attend to the immediate needs of our own residents and to ensure that we were able to re-house and provide temporary accommodation for those displaced by the flooding.

“Now we are in a position to be able to go back to government to do our bit to help the refugee crisis. I am sure that our district will provide a warm welcome for these people in their desperate time of need.”

During the course of the conflict in Syria, the United Nations estimate that 1.5 million refugees have now fled the region.

In 2014 the government established the ‘Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme’ which prioritised those who were most in need, such as the elderly and disabled.

The scheme was extended in September 2015 and the United Kingdom is now aiming to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.

Councillor Archibald’s comments follow CLB’s statement on Friday 16 September 2016, which stated that Cumbria was willing to help resettle Syrian refugees and their families in the area.

Councillor Colin Glover, the Chair of CLB, said: “Today (Friday 16 September) the CLB has met and reaffirmed their commitment to make an offer to help resettle Syrian refugees and their families in Cumbria.

“Over the coming months the county’s local authorities and partners will work together to establish a Cumbria offer which will set out the number of refugees that can be resettled into Cumbria over the next three years, 2017-2020.

“Once the offer is finalised and agreed with government a ‘matching process’ will take place, this process will look at those refugees in established camps needing homes and support, and the available support on offer from Cumbria to ensure that a compatible fit is made.

“If any of these matches prove successful then we could expect to see refugees arriving in Cumbria from spring 2017.

“Finally, as the issue progresses, we will continue to do all that we can to keep the residents of Cumbria fully informed.”

For more information, please contact the SLDC Communications team on 01539 793300.