101 PEOPLE fleeing conflict in Syria and elsewhere have now found new homes in Cambridge and nearby towns and villages, thanks to Cambridge City Council’s response to the government’s resettlement scheme.
In late 2015 the council was one of the first in the East of England to respond to calls for help in resettling refugees fleeing the war in Syria under the Home Office’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.
After initially agreeing to resettle 50 people from Syria, the council then decided it had the team and capacity to meet the challenge of resettling double that number of people, and also to welcome refugees from conflicts and persecution elsewhere including Iraq, Sudan and South Sudan.
The target was achieved when a family arrived in Cambridge in late November, taking the total figure of people resettled here to 101.
The council has been greatly assisted by partner organisations including Cambridgeshire County Council, the NHS, faith groups and community volunteering groups to successfully integrate the newly-arrived families into the communities where they now live.
The government fully funded the resettlement programme and meets all costs associated with it.
A pilot scheme has also been launched this year to ensure there is a suitable information and translation service for asylum seekers and refugees in Cambridge, to help newcomers with the transition to living in a new city and country.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “We are very proud that Cambridge has been able to provide a safe haven for so many vulnerable families and individuals who fled unimaginable dangers in their home countries.
“Cambridge residents have welcomed their new neighbours warmly, with homes being generously provided by private and social landlords. The newly arrived Syrian community have also provided impressive mutual support for newly arrived families, assisted also by our dedicated council officer team.
“We pledged to welcome 100 people and we have now exceeded that promise thanks to the great work of many people in the community and in local schools and colleges. But our work, and the work of our partners does not stop there, as we are determined to continue that support for them as new Cambridge residents, in helping them settle in, learn English, take on jobs and live happy, peaceful lives here.”