At the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council today (Thursday 17.12.15) the Leader of the Council, Ronnie Nicholson, provided the following update on the refugess crisis:
“I would like to take the opportunity to provide Members with an update on the progress we are making in relation to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in our region.
The inter-agency Project Team met earlier this week and has agreed robust and co-ordinated arrangements that bring together the wealth of talent and support for this work that has been offered, across the 15 partners and from local people across the region, and also ensures that security and community safety issues are taken into account.
In addition, the Team is liaising with national agencies, other parts of Scotland, and Cumbria, to ensure that we tap into the expertise and materials that are already available.
We are therefore working on the basis that we will be in a good position to resettle four Syrian families here by March 2016 as planned.
I’d like to highlight that their relocation to places in Dumfries and Galloway will be as local residents. Any direct costs are covered by the Home Office so there is no financial detriment to our Council or to local people. A report will come to the Policy and Resources Committee in February 2016 giving details of the arrangements.
The overwhelming response from people across Scotland recognises that this Resettlement Scheme is making a positive contribution to the diversity of our communities – and for a rural area such as ours, there is international evidence that there is mutual benefit in their involvement in employment, environmental and creative activities.”
As Councillors we have a duty to work with our communities and organisations in the coming months to address any concerns they may have, responsibly, openly and honestly. This is, in the first instance, a humanitarian response to helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world. I believe that compassion is a hallmark of this Council and that we are therefore well placed to offer refugee families a safe haven and a bright future. I hope that belief is endorsed by my fellow Councillors.”