Conference to discuss Syrian refugee scheme

A special conference is being held in Malvern for councils preparing or considering taking in refugees affected by the conflict in Syria.

Malvern Hills District Council is hosting the event, which is being organised by The British Red Cross, on November 16.

The event is being attended by senior officials from councils, the NHS and housing associations across the West Mercia region.

The aim is to give decision-makers the chance to learn more about the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme, discuss the needs of those requiring resettlement and consider other ways of supporting communities wanting to help those caught up in the conflict.

The conference will also be addressed by a refugee who has already been successfully resettled in the UK.

Cllr Phil Grove, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: "We're delighted to host this conference in partnership with The British Red Cross. It will be an important event which will give us the opportunity to hear from those directly involved in the scheme, understand the needs of those requiring resettlement and to share ideas."

Jane Abdulla, British Red Cross operations director for Worcestershire, said: "We are delighted that the Red Cross is involved in hosting this conference. The UK has a proud history of welcoming refugees and it is heartening to see the groundswell of support for resettlement from many councils in our area.

"Syrian refugees fleeing violence and persecution have been forced to endure the most appalling ordeals. When they arrive in the UK, it is vital that they are given the best possible start to what can be a challenging and stressful life."

Malvern Hills District Council has already indicated it will take part in the SVPR scheme, as part of a Worcestershire-wide bid to the Home Office, as long as the Government guarantees funding for the full five years and not just the first 12 months. It will also have to be supported by partner organisations such as the NHS and housing associations.

Talks are continuing between the Local Government Association and the Treasury about five year funding for the scheme.