1. Arrival of the first families
Eight local authorities across Herts have been working together to draw up a plan that will meet the Government's Statement of Requirements for the scheme. These councils are St Albans, Stevenage, Three Rivers, Hertsmere, Welwyn Hatfield, East Herts, Watford and North Herts. The plan is by now almost or actually finalised and signed off.
We're really delighted that this consortium of councils has charged the Refugee Council with coordinating the local support to refugees. Most likely, some of this support will be provided by the councils, some by the voluntary sector (including us!).
The Refugee Council have appointed a project manager who is going to contact us when she comes into post at the end of this month.
Our first arrivals will be in Stevenage, at some point from the end of this month to mid-March. The councils are arranging to stagger the arrivals of families between them over the spring and the early summer.
Dacorum is participating in the scheme too. Broxbourne is not.
2. Open Event 31st January
Over 200 people came and it was so, so encouraging to see how passionately people want to help. The report was written up in local press - here is one article: http://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/herts_welcome_syrian_families_event_in_st_albans_attracts_hundreds_of_supporters_1_4406292. Lots of good networking connections were made and it has raised our profile as a group well, with a flurry of activity and communication following the day.
£330 was raised for StAlbans4Refugees (STAR).
Many thanks to Irene for all her work in organising this event!
The Asylum Dialogues - performed by human rights theatre groups Ice&Fire - 5th March - 7.30pm - St Andrew's Church, Hertford!
+ refreshments and discussion
4. Next steps
We, the management committee, are going to meet in a few weeks to discuss preparing for when the refugees arrive. If you would like to get actively involved in organising this, let us know! The more input the better.