St Helens prepares to help refugees

St Helens Council has confirmed that it is preparing to identify homes in
the borough for asylum seekers and refugees fleeing Syria as part of the
UK’s resettlement programme.

Council Leader Barrie Grunewald said: “The humanitarian crisis in Syria is
on such a horrific scale that we cannot – and must not – turn our backs on
those people.

“It is right that we offer safety and shelter to families who are in such
desperate need and in St Helens we fully intend to play our part. We are
waiting for the Government to explain just how they also intend to help.”

St Helens Council will work with the Government to identify homes across
the borough for refugees arriving in the UK. The council believes that up
to 30 homes will need to be found for those fleeing torture and other
horrific experiences who are already in the country – while more homes will need to be identified for Syrian refugees who will be supported as part of the Government’s plans to resettle 20,000 people nationally over the next five years. The exact number coming to St Helens will depend on the
Government’s national approach to the crisis.

The council is urging the Government to ensure that appropriate financial
support is given to local authorities to cover the significant costs
involved – especially those relating to placing unaccompanied children in
foster care.

Councillor Grunewald said: “We want to play our part in extending the hand of friendship and welcome to the displaced people of Syria. It is right
that all local authorities do what they can to support these families and
children.

“However there is a significant financial cost to this support. We are
calling on the Government to ensure we are properly resourced to give the
support needed to help these families integrate into our community and
begin to get their lives back together.”