THE FIRST Syrian refugees families have been successfully resettled in Warwickshire.
A private flight arrived at Birmingham International Airport this week carrying a number of families who have since been resettled around the region, including six families in Warwickshire.
The families given sanctuary in the county are among those who have suffered the most following the humanitarian disaster in Syria since civil war erupted in 2011. Many have been displaced from their homes or had their homes and livelihoods destroyed in the subsequent conflicts that have ravaged the country they once called home.
Two families have each been rehomed in Stratford, Rugby and Nuneaton and Bedworth.
Warwickshire County Council has been working closely with the district and borough councils, health chiefs and others to put in place a package of support to meet the needs of the families – including private housing, education, health care and emotional support.
The project, wholly funded by central government as part of its Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement programme, is expected to see Warwickshire become home to at least 31 Syrian families by 2020.
The whole of England is set to welcome 20,000 refugees by that time.
Coun Izzi Seccombe, leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “The fact that the whole county has come together to provide a safe place for these families to begin to heal and rebuild lives shattered by conflict is a testament to what a fantastic place Warwickshire is to live.
“I am immensely proud that Warwickshire County Council and all our partners have pulled together to provide a comprehensive package of support to these families and that local communities have gone above and beyond to make our newest residents so welcome.
“These families can now begin their healing in a county that has always celebrated and welcomed diversity; a county that has always offered help to its most vulnerable residents; and a county that has a deep and enduring sense of civil-mindedness at its very heart.”
Coun June Tandy, leader of the county’s Labour Group, added: “These six families, now safe and sound in Warwickshire, have endured physical and emotional hardships that we would struggle to comprehend in Warwickshire. Their road to healing may be long and slow, however it is heartening to know they are now safe and being supported.”
And immigration minister Robert Goodwill has praised efforts to help those from the war-torn country.
He said: “The support of Warwickshire County Council and its local authorities is paramount in helping us resettle so many vulnerable people who have fled conflict.
“The humanitarian crisis in Syria is unprecedented which is why we decided to undertake one of the largest resettlement schemes in the UK’s history.
“The hard work will continue throughout this parliament as we provide those who have been traumatised and damaged by war with a safe environment and the chance to rebuild their lives.”