Ten Syrian families expected for Derry

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion.

Ten Syrian refugee families are expected to arrive in the Derry & Strabane Council area within months.

The Mayor, Councillor Elisha McCallion, has now issued a call out to all local groups and organisations across all sectors to consider how they can assist in helping them families settle in the area.

Around ten families are expected to arrive in the district in the coming months, and Colr. McCallion encouraged community groups, voluntary organisations, businesses and schools to look at ways they can provide a warm local welcome and easier integration into the local community.

In recent months the Mayor has led the Derry Strabane Civic Action Group for Refugees, a multi-agency strategic group who have been working to establish an effective support network for the families.

Colr. McCallion said: “What’s different about this initiative is that we are not asking for general donations, we are thinking about the need to offer practical support in making people feel they have found a safe place in our district.

“These families are arriving with nothing, in a new country, with no family or friends to make them feel welcome. I think we can work together to make this a positive experience through a number of approaches including providing ‘Starter Packs’ for families when they arrive. These include packs for children, household packs and warmth starter packs.”

She added: “We are also hoping to get assistance from language experts who can provide English lessons which will be invaluable.”

A full list of the starter packs can be viewed at www.derrystrabane.com/mayor. Any Arabic speakers or anyone who is a qualified EAL tutor is asked to consider offering their support. Contact Niamh.scullion@derrystrabane.com, telephone: 02871253253 ext 8223.