Argyll and Bute Council is hailing the success of its refugee resettlement programme – and is now proposing to take in more families.
The isle of Bute was chosen to house the families because it has available housing, capacity in schools and access to healthcare.
In a report before the full council tomorrow (thur), chief executive Cleland Sneddon asks councillors to agree to welcome the relatives and extended families of the existing refugees to Bute.
He makes the recommendation: “That members agree the resettlement of further families on Bute beyond the initial 20 family commitment reflecting the success of the support programme and the clear desire of the families to be joined by their extended family living as refugees in the countries surrounding Syria.
“The Refugee Resettlement Group would ensure that suitable housing is available, the health service can support medical needs and there is capacity in the schools.”
The group is made up of council officers from a variety of services and members of partner agencies including housing associations, police and fire service.
The first 10 families were re-settled on the isle of Bute on December 3 last year, followed by a further five in February and in the following months relatives of the those existing families, amounting to another three family groups, arrived.
Each family is supported by a range of agencies who work with them.
Bute Advice Centre is commissioned to provide a support worker for each family and the council has appointed two Arabic speaking community interpreters and a refugee support worker to coordinate all of the arrangements. These services are funded by a grant provided by the Home Office.
So far one adult and two young people have been able to find jobs on Bute and their success has offered encouragement to others.
Many volunteering opportunities have been taken up with refugees being involved with a community garden project, Butefest and a local charity.
A number of babies are due to be born in the families in the coming months.
The council’s evaluation of the resettlement plan has found: “The community on Bute has been very welcoming and friendships have developed with the local indigenous community and the new Syrian families.”