50 more Syrian refugees could arrive in Derbyshire

An aid worker helping a child. Stock picture.
An aid worker helping a child. Stock picture.

Another 50 refugees from war-torn Syria could arrive in Derbyshire before April 2019.

In September last year, the Government asked authorities across the UK to help it resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees between 2016 and 2021 as part of its Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme (VPR).

In response, Derbyshire County Council joined up with district and borough councils, health colleagues, police, voluntary and community groups and other agencies to form a countywide partnership.

Over the past year the partnership has resettled 48 refugees in 11 family groups.

Proposals to continue the Derbyshire partnership and welcome up to another 50 refugees before April 2019 will be considered at a meeting next Thursday.

Councillor Carol Hart, the county council's cabinet member for health and communities, said: "The Government asked us to support its resettlement scheme a year ago which we did by forming the Derbyshire partnership and we're now considering proposals to continue this approach in response to the ongoing national requirement.

"From the work carried out over the last 12 months and lessons we've learned about family needs, the partnership will consider proposals to offer continued support which would allow us to resettle up to 50 more Syrian refugees in small family groups up to April 2019.

"As with the current scheme this would be subject to the partnership taking into account the availability of local services.

"Many other UK councils are supporting the Government's refugee settlement scheme and like them, we're keen to do what we can to help people who are suffering every day in ways we cannot imagine."

A county council spokesman added: "Detailed planning work was carried out last year to map the locations of potential accommodation against the availability of local resources such as GP and school places to support the current scheme and has continued to help inform what further help the county can offer to resettle families in need.

"The costs of VPR in Derbyshire over the five-year scheme are paid directly by the Government to the county council and health providers."