Refugees to be resettled into Lancashire

An event organised by the Red Cross for refugees from around the world, currently in Preston, where people could share food from their home countries
An event organised by the Red Cross for refugees from around the world, currently in Preston, where people could share food from their home countries

Five refugee families are to move to Preston this year as part of the Government’s pledge to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.

The city is to work alongside other areas of Lancashire to take in a minimum of 20 families in the first year of the scheme, with South Ribble also taking five, and Blackpool and Pendle taking 10 each.

Funding will be delivered by Westminster, with services and care set up for each family.

Preston Council’s deputy leader Coun John Swindells said: “It is something that needs planning carefully, because there have been traumatic events and it needs everything in place when they get here in support services.

“Schools, doctors, emotional support will all be in place by the time they arrive in Lancashire - that’s why it’s taken the time it has taken.”
He said Preston would welcome more than five families over the full programme, and said: “Lancashire will take its share over that period of time.

“The first will come in September and then more will follow in the months that follow.”

Coun Swindells said four areas in Lancashire had been identified first, with other places housing refugees in the future.

He said: “The next families will come in the next few months, but they might go to other parts of Lancashire.”

Preston Council will be responsible for help including sourcing houses, furnishing each property, providing cash for each person on the day of arrival before benefits are in place, and providing a grocery pack for each household.

The council is expected to spend about £83,000, which will be fully funded by central Government.

Lancashire County Council will be responsible for help including providing English to speakers of other languages, staff induction and training, and working with schools.

Coun Swindells said: “Preston has always been welcoming to people across the world as they have arrived, from the Caribbean in the 1950s, from Asia, Preston has always done that and become so multicultural because of it.”

Preston Council’s cabinet is due to discuss the programme at its next meeting.