Plans to rehome refugees in Lewes District are moving forward

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Lewes District Council’s plans to provide a home for Syrian refugees in the district are moving ahead.

The council has agreed to house eight refugees per year for five years, totalling 40 people over a five-year period.

It is working in partnership with the other councils across East Sussex to provide co-ordinated support.

People resettled from the war-torn country under the programme will receive humanitarian protection for five years, enabling them to work and access services in the UK during that time.

Councillor Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “It is right that we respond positively to the needs of desperate Syrian families and play our part in helping these people fleeing persecution. They are vulnerable people and their needs must be carefully assessed and met.

“We have been working hard with our partners to provide the right support package and ensure the correct level of assistance is put in place.”

The council has committed to accepting the refugees under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (SVPRS) which was initiated after the government last year announced that 20,000 Syrian refugees would be resettled in the UK during this Parliament.

The offer made to government has been to resettle between 200 and 260 people across East Sussex over five years. This figure was arrived at because East Sussex has around one per cent of the UK’s population, and therefore will resettle one per cent of the refugees.

Refugees resettled under this programme will be vulnerable and are likely to need support with housing, medical assistance, language, education and specialist services for victims of torture where appropriate.

Councillor Smith added: “We will also be working with community and faith groups to put in place support arrangements during the summer period.”

It is expected the first Syrian refugees will arrive in the Lewes district in the autumn of this year.

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