Devon looking for volunteers to help refugee children settle as quickly and easily into their new lives as possible
The county of Devon is providing a chance to start life afresh free from fear for children who have arrived on their own in the UK having fled conflict in their native countries.
Devon has welcomed unaccompanied children seeking asylum since 2015 when under a Home Office programme up to 70 children, displaced from refugee camps outside Calais, were transferred to Devon.
Most moved quickly through the county to be reunited with relatives across the UK. A few remained and have since settled well to life in Devon.
Since then a further 41 children have arrived as part of the Government’s National Transfer Scheme, and as referrals from Immigration, Police or by other local authorities.
Devon County Council is part of the response in helping such children settle as quickly and easily into new lives.
It’s just commissioned Space*, which used to be the Devon Youth Service, and Young Devon, to support the children in their local communities, helping them integrate into new home lives, schools and becoming active members of society.
It’s now looking for members of the public to join a team of skilled volunteers and mentors to enable children and young people to do that; to be better connected with their local communities, and to make use of Devon’s support networks, facilities and activities.
It’s a pilot that will initially run for a year. Details HERE.
Local refugee support group backs County Council’s request for help in finding accommodation for refugees
Ottery Refugee Response have sent me Devon County Council’s appeal for help in finding accommodation:
Devon is playing its part in meeting the UK government’s pledge to bring 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees to the UK by 2020. We are also part of the government’s national programme to look after unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Resettling Syrian families
Local councils working together across Devon have pledged to house over 40 Syrian families. Since June 2016, families have arrived in Devon at the rate of just over one each month on average. Families continue to arrive when housing is ready for them. To meet our pledges, we need landlords who will rent properties to councils to house refugee families. The UK government’s resettlement programme provides funding to Councils for housing and other resettlement costs such as English classes, interpreting, cultural orientation and help into work.
Looking after unaccompanied children
In summer 2016, the government set up a ‘national transfer scheme’ so that councils across the country could share the responsibility for looking after unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. These children may arrive in the UK independently or under government programmes. Devon joined the national transfer scheme from the start. We are already looking after children placed with us under that scheme and we have indicated to the government that we are prepared to receive children over the next few years in line with that commitment.
In autumn 2016, Devon hosted a temporary Home Office centre to look after children brought into the UK to be reunited with family members when the Calais ‘Jungle’ was closed.
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