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Council stands ready to welcome Syrian refugees

Publication date:

St Albans City and District Council has signaled its commitment to supporting Syrian refugees as part of the Government’s recently announced scheme.

Over the past few weeks, lots of local residents and groups have contacted the Council offering help and seeking information.  Many local people are clearly concerned for the plight of the refugees, and keen to offer help.

The Council is ready to play its part in any nationally agreed and coordinated approach to supporting refugees.  

Following the Cabinet meeting on Thursday 24 September, leaders from all the Council’s political groups met to discuss the matter and give their support. 

Overall, the Government has indicated that it will be taking 20,000 people over 5 years.  If shared equally across all areas of the country, this might mean about 100 people a year coming to Hertfordshire, or 10 per District. It is not yet clear how decisions on where people will live will be made so it could be more or fewer.

We will be talking to neighbouring councils to ensure support offered is joined up.  Where possible, we hope to be able to welcome people from the same family or community to help people feel more at home. We recognise this is a long term commitment if conditions in Syria remain as they are.

Locally, the Council’s most pressing need is to find suitable self-contained accommodation.  

We have received offers from local people who want to offer refugees rooms in their family homes.  The Home Office scheme does not extend to shared accommodation of this type. This is because there are various issues to consider related to the safeguarding of vulnerable people.  

Since we already have a long waiting list for housing in our own council properties, we are looking to accommodate refugees in the private rented sector.  

We are therefore particularly keen to hear from anyone who is able to offer self-contained accommodation to house a refugee family locally.  To contact the Council about this, please email,  or telephone 01727 819355.

Some people may be able to offer accommodation for free. But the Council also wants to hear from people with appropriate property to rent, as we expect the Government will provide a contribution towards that cost. We are awaiting further details from the Government about this. 

Cllr Brian Ellis, the Council’s portfolio holder for Housing said:  “We have received many kind offers of help from local people keen to do something to support the current Syrian refugee crisis.  

“The Council stands ready to play its full part. We expect to receive firm details from the government soon and are writing to offer our commitment and support.  In the meantime, we are seeking help to find family-sized, self-contained accommodation, and have contacted private sector landlords with this in mind.  If there are any local people who can offer suitable self-contained properties, we are keen to hear from them.”  

The Council is also keen to hear from local community groups and others in the voluntary sector to understand what they may be able to offer Syrian refugees locally.

There is an immediate need for cash to support the refugees in Syria.  For people wanting to take immediate action, one way to show their support is by making a charitable donation. Details of some of the charities involved in supporting the Syrian refugee crisis can be found on the website - see  One charity we are aware of with a local connection is SOS Children’s Villages (see:

Nationally, there is a Red Cross information line set up by the government to record people's offers of help.  The contact number for this is 0800 107 8727.

Councillor contact:

Cllr Brian Ellis, Portfolio Holder for Housing, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01582 767621

Contact for the media:

Claire Wainwright, Executive and Communications Manager, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819572, Email: 


For the Home Office website, see: 

The Local Government Association has published some information to help councils and Councillors answer questions from the public.  See: 

For Government information on what people can do to help, see: