Update on progress in implementing Vulnerable Person Relocation scheme, as correct 10th December 2015
These are the relevant paragraphs from the minutes of the East Herts District Council (EHDC) meeting of the 28th October.
Katharine Seaton, a resident of Hertford, stated that she was on the steering group of the community network, Herts Welcomes Syrian Families, which had formed to encourage Hertfordshire councils to participate in the government's Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme for Syrian nationals. On behalf of her network, she asked the Leader of the Council how East Herts Council intended to implement the scheme locally, what was the most optimistic timescale possible for bringing the first family here, and what could her network do to support the Council practically to achieve this.
In reply, the Leader of the Council agreed that the deplorable plight of many Syrian people deserved support. She referred to the Prime Minister’s statement of 7 September 2015, in which the process, nationally, for accepting up to 20,000 people over the next five years had been outlined. The Council was participating fully with neighbouring councils and other agencies to provide a coordinated strategy that would assist in helping Syrian families arriving in the coming weeks and months. The position was changing on an almost daily basis and although the Leader was unable to confirm the timescale for the first arrivals in Hertfordshire, she provided assurance that the Council would play its full part.
In response to a supplementary question, the Leader undertook for the Council to keep Herts Welcomes Syrian Families informed of progress.
Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) was recently contacted by the Home Office regarding Hertfordshire’s willingness to be involved in the Syrian Refugee scheme. HCC in turn has been in touch with District Councils to let them know of the Home Office’s contact and their wish to progress with the resettlement.
In response to this, East Herts District Council’s Housing Services Manager convened a meeting with representatives from both the major local Housing Associations, from HCC’s Schools Admissions and Transport, from Neighbourhood Services and from HWSF in Hertford and Broxbourne. This was to discuss how to coordinate the support we offer as a whole. The meeting was positive; all parties committed to undertake whatever was necessary.
HWSF will be taking on a number of roles to support refugees when they arrive, in conjunction with the local authorities. If you would like to be part of these efforts, please complete the How you can help form in the documents section of this website and email it to Katie Seaton at firstname.lastname@example.org.