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North Devon to Offer a Warm Welcome to Syrian Refugees

This petition had 147 supporters

After over five years years of conflict  in Syria, the situation is worsening, with increased fighting on the ground and no clear road map to peace.  Some 4.8 million Syrians have already fled their country for neighbouring states,  while over one million Syrians have sought asylum in Europe.

Devon is playing its part in meeting the UK government’s pledge to bring 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees from the neighbouring states in  the Middle East to the UK by 2020.

The government’s Vulnerable Person's Resettlement Scheme  VPRS focusses on Syrian refugees who have fled to the countries around Syria and are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR identifies individuals and families who are particularly vulnerable for medical or other reasons. The UK Government carries out security screening before deciding whether to accept a family.

If the UK Government agrees to resettle a Syrian family, it gives them a humanitarian visa for five years. This gives family members the right to work and to use public services.

What Devon is doing ? 
Local councils working together across Devon have offered to house at least 74 Syrian families. The UK Government provides funding for housing and other council costs under the resettlement programme. The first few families have arrived and are settling into homes in Devon.

The families will live in private rented properties that the landlord has offered or agreed to rent to refugee families. Syrian refugee families do not get any preferential treatment for housing.

Councils volunteer to participate in the programme and can control the rate at which families arrive. This depends on the supply of sustainable and affordable housing from private landlords.

Devon has formed a partnership to help families to settle in and lead independent, safe and productive lives. This includes professionals from the NHS, education and social care who make sure that local services will be able to meet refugees’ needs. Community and voluntary organisations are taking the lead in helping families get to know the local area and UK culture, make contact with faith and support groups, learn English and where possible get into work. 

North Devon is one of only two Districts in Devon that have so far NOT yet agreed to participate in the Government’s Syrian Refugee Scheme VPRS.

Please sign this petition which calls upon the Executive of North Devon District Council to decide that North Devon should  participate in the Governments VPR Scheme and offer a warm welcome to Syrian Refugee Families in North Devon.


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