Unanimous support for refugees in Fife

Archived news: published on Thursday 17 Sep 2015 by Fife Council

Councillors show their support for refugees at a meeting of the Full Council

Councillors show their support for refugees at a meeting of the Full Council

Councillors today voiced overwhelming and unanimous support for refugees in Fife and called for action from groups and organisations to work together to address the humanitarian crisis.

At a meeting of the Full Council today (Thursday) there was cross-party support for a co-ordinated response to the international refugee crisis as councillors noted the continuing and growing public concern about the issue.

Council Leader David Ross praised the work and actions taken so far by local groups and people who are working together to send emergency supplies and aid to refugees.

He added that the council is keen to provide whatever support it can and meetings have already taken place with the Fife Migrants Forum, Fife Centre for Equalities and other local organisations to consider how best to help in both the short and longer term.

This week candles were lit outside the Lomond Centre ahead of a Ceilidh that was planned for Diversity Week Fife to show solidarity with those who want Westminster and Scottish Governments to do more to support refugees from Syria and other war-torn Middle Eastern countries.

Commented Cllr Ross: “It’s important we pool our resources and expertise with other organisations who have experience to make sure our response is as effective as possible.

“On national and international levels, I have written to the Prime Minister urging the UK Government to rapidly increase its efforts to deal with the crisis and work with other countries to develop a co-ordinated and effective response.

“I have also written to the Prime Minister and First Minister offering Fife’s assistance and asking for urgent talks on how we can best work with UK and Scottish Governments to provide our help.

“Here in Fife we have been welcoming and supporting refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Uganda and Kosovo for over 30 years so we are not strangers to this issue.

“We are committed to helping those in greatest need and helping them to rebuild their lives here. I know local people will join me in making anyone who does settle here very welcome.”

Manager of Fife Migrants Forum Joanna Zawadzka commented: “We will work in partnership with Fife Council and the local community to endeavour to make the reception, welcome and integration of refugees seamless and stress free. We have already established links with community groups and others to make sure refugees coming to live in Fife will receive a very warm welcome.”

There are no definitive numbers yet in terms of how many refugees could come to the Kingdom. However nationally there has been a commitment to help 20,000 people, so it’s expected Fife could welcome around 140 people over the next four years. It’s not known yet whether these will be families, single people, or children who have lost their parents.

The council is now involved in discussions with partners across the housing and health and social care and voluntary sectors to talk through what impact could be expected on services.

Government grants will be made available to reduce any impact on council budgets which are already stretched. The council is also urging partners in the private and social rented housing sectors to offer whatever accommodation they can to minimise impact on available council housing.

The council is collating any offers of accommodation and signposting people who want to help at www.fifedirect.org.uk/heretohelp

John Mills, Head of Housing Services 
Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 48 02 69 Contact John Mills online
By Post: Rothesay House Rothesay Place Glenrothes Fife KY7 5PQ

David Ross, Councillor 
Tel: 03451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 24 03 Contact David Ross online
By Post: Fife council, Fife House North Street, Glenrothes,KY7 5LT
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