Hundreds of Syrian refugees will make home in Lancashire

Refugees in Preston at St Cuthbert's Church, Lytham Road in Preston.  Feature by Sarah Fielding.
Pictured are the refugees at the Red Cross Centre.
11th February 2016
Refugees in Preston at St Cuthbert's Church, Lytham Road in Preston. Feature by Sarah Fielding. Pictured are the refugees at the Red Cross Centre. 11th February 2016

Lancashire is set to welcome up to 500 Syrian refugees over the next five years.

The figures were revealed to councillors attending a county council scrutiny committee.

Preston, South Ribble, Blackpool and Pendle will be the first districts to take part in the Government funded resettlement.

A council spokesman outlined how the programme would be introduced and funded, explaining that Preston and South Ribble would have five properties for five families, while Pendle and Blackpool would each have ten properties.

He said the Syrians, who would not arrive before the summer, would be settled in just three to five local council areas each year to prevent them feeling isolated. Councillors were told there had been months of negotiations over funding and while at first the Government had hoped individual local councils would come forward to offer places, now there was to be a subregional approach, with Lancashire acting as the lead authority in the county.

Properties will have to be found, furnished to appropriate standards and a welcome pack of food and £200 funding provided for arrivals to meet their initial costs.

The newcomers will then have an intensive few weeks helping them to settle in and there would be a need for language tuition, interpretation and translation services. Funding will be at £8,520 per refugee with £2,250 cash for children aged three to four, and £4,500 for those aged five to 18.

It was agreed that the council would write to the Government asking for more details on the mechanisms and timing of funding. County Coun Liz Oades said: “I do really feel the Government needs to give us clarity as soon as possible.”