The ten Syrian families coming to Derry and Strabane next month will most likely include several with young children, a new report suggests.
Preparations are already well advanced to help resettle those who will be arriving in the local area, with local schoolchildren and communities this week collecting items to donate, and the Mayor Elisha McCallion and the local authority also advancing a range of initiatives to cater to their needs.
In a new report brought before Tuesday’s meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Governance & Strategic Planning Committee, Councillors were told that the local area has now been confirmed as the new home of the second grouping of Syrian refugees to arrive in the north under Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme in April.
The first group of Refugees arrived back in December 2015 and have been resettled in the Greater Belfast area. The new Council report states: “The next group are due to arrive in April 2016 and Derry City and Strabane DC area has been selected as the location where there will be resettled.
“Currently little is known about the group, however it is expected that the groups make-up will be similar to the group that arrived in Belfast at the end of last year i.e. 10 family groups containing young children.”
The Council have previously set up a Derry Strabane Civic Action for Refugees Group, bringing together the relevant local voluntary and statutory organisations, with Bryson Intercultural, appointed as Delivery Agents, in order to implement the required processes for refugee resettlement in the City and District.
Mayor McCallion has also launched a wide range of initiatives in advance of the refugees arriving.
The report states: “A process of how ‘wrap around support’ for the arriving refugees will be put in place is currently being agreed. Council’s role along with local community and voluntary organisations may come more to the fore in the medium to long-term once the delivery partner’s role is complete.”
The Housing Executive are liaising with their local officers in order to identify appropriate housing for the arriving refugees.
“Given the lack of social housing, the private rented accommodation will be used to accommodate them,” the report states. “Currently all areas of the City and District are being considered as possible locations. It would be preferable that families are grouped together in small numbers. GPs and schools will be allocated on the basis of the location of the houses.”