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Cambridge City Council

Council reaffirms commitment to support refugees

News release from 20 August 2021

CAMBRIDGE City Council has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting refugees and exploring every route available to ensure it plays a full part in the call to resettle 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan.

The council was one of the first authorities in the East of England to respond to the government call in 2015 for councils to help to resettle 20,000 mainly Syrian refugees across the UK, fleeing war torn countries including Syria, Iraq and Sudan.

Over the following six years the council has developed a strong record of working with refugees, with its experienced staff team supporting refugee families to establish new lives in and around Cambridge.

Initially, the plan was to resettle 50 people as part of the five-year Home Office Refugee Resettlement Scheme but the council was able to more than double that number in three years, assisted by offers of private rented and housing association properties in and near Cambridge, and working closely with faith groups and voluntary organisations.

A further commitment was made last October to resettle an additional 200 refugees, and in June this year the council committed four council houses each year for five years to help reach that target.

Cllr Alex Collis, Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Sustainable Food and Community Wellbeing, said: “We have a strong record of welcoming refugees to Cambridge over a number of years and we have worked with the Home Office to resettle Syrian refugee families.

“Along with other councils, our offer is to extend that welcome to Afghan refugees. We will work closely with our partners, as we have done before, to ensure Cambridge is a city of sanctuary.

“Next steps will depend on the detailed scheme being developed by the Home Office. Our biggest challenge is housing and we are looking at what we can deliver ourselves and how we can use our expertise to work with others.”