Syrian refugees now working

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News release: 26 February 2018

Several Syrian refugees resettled in the St Albans District have now found jobs while others are doing voluntary work in the community.

Civic Offices
Ten families - comprising 41 people – have now been taken in by St Albans City and District Council over the past two years under a Home Office scheme.

That is almost a third of the total number of Syrian refugees, 126, that have been relocated to Hertfordshire.

Another family of five should arrive in the District shortly and will be housed in a property secured last month from a private landlord.

The Council committed in September 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, to resettle 50 Syrians over five years.

Five of the ten families are in accommodation provided by the housing association Network Homes.

The others are in properties obtained from private landlords after the Council appealed for their support.

So far, the Council has spent £327,000 on the resettlement programme with much of the money going on housing costs and Refugee Council services.

It has received almost £400,000 towards the costs from the Home Office with the surplus being earmarked for future spending.

Many of the Arabic-speaking refugees have been attending English classes at Oaklands College. Those unable to travel due to mobility issues have been receiving lessons at home.

Some of the refugees have made remarkable progress and are now able to communicate verbally and by email without the aid of an interpreter.

Many of the refugees have written CVs with the help of the Refugee Council, which has been monitoring their progress, to help them find employment.

The families have been encouraged to become independent and to socialise with families from different backgrounds.

The charity Herts Welcomes Syrian Families recently filled the post of Co-ordinator of English for Speakers of Other Languages to work across the County.

An update on the resettlement programme is to be given to a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 27 February.

Councillor Brian Ellis, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “We are doing our bit to help Syrian refugees and are on track to fulfilling our commitment to resettle 50 by 2020. We are likely to have taken in that number by the end of this year.

“This has been a terrific effort involving several different community organisations and individuals, including many volunteers. 

“Among those who have helped us with this successful operation are local and national charities, the County’s other local authorities, the Network Homes housing association, Oaklands College and private landlords.

“We can be very proud of the fact that people in St Albans have shown themselves to be very welcoming and compassionate towards those who have endured traumatic experiences.

“I am very pleased that the refugees are also making major efforts to integrate and to contribute to the District by learning English and gaining employment.”

Councillor contact:
Cllr Brian Ellis.
Portfolio Holder for Housing and Inclusion, St Albans City and District Council.
Phone: 01582 767621

Media contact: 
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 01727-296130