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Craven set to help more refugee children

Craven District Council has agreed that the district should help settle more vulnerable children refugees.

Two families of Syrian refugees, 11 people in total, arrived in Craven in July 2016 and have been housed in Skipton.

A further 13 refugees are expected in the autumn and in the New Year, and the district's commitment to take a total of 25 refugees as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons resettlement scheme is expected to be completed by March 2017.

Councillors have now agreed to take part in the new Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Programme, which was announced by the Immigration Minister on April 21 this year.

The Government is aiming to help resettle up to 3,000 vulnerable refugee children and their families, from all nationalities from the Middle East and North Africa region.

Paul Ellis, director of services at Craven District Council, said: "We have been keen to play our part in the humanitarian response to the plight of the Syrian refugees and we're pleased that a number of refugees have already settled in Craven.

"Councillors asked us to assess whether Craven could respond further on compassionate grounds, and have now pledged to take an additional three children under this new scheme, subject to there being sufficient private sector housing available."

Migration Yorkshire has recommended that Yorkshire and Humber should take part in the Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Programme and take its 'fair share' as a region.

Based on Craven's share of population this would equate to an extra three refugees for the district, taking the total commitment to 28.

Craven District Council will sign up to a regional agreement, with North Yorkshire County Council as the lead authority, who will project manage the operational delivery of the scheme, including the procurement of specialist support services.

There is no cost to the council of entering into the scheme, as any costs will be met by a grant paid by the Home Office.

There is also an option for Craven to take additional refugees in the future, although it is likely to be April 2018 before this can take place, as along with other North Yorkshire authorities the quota of refugees in the Home Office's current programme is on track to be met.