The County You Live, Work And Play
Syrian Refugees Housed In Hamilton
Two refugee families fleeing the horrors of war-ravaged Syria arrived in Hamilton to start a new life. They will be housed in the town as part of South Lanarkshire Council’s pledge that up to 60 refugees should be welcomed in the first year of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (SVPRS).
A total of 12 to 15 families, who have endured years of conflict and misery, are due to settle here by the end of 2016 .
Eddie McAvoy, South Lanarkshire Council leader, said: “I’m confident that the families arriving in Hamilton will receive the same welcome and support as those who arrived in Rutherglen before Christmas .”
He added: “The families already settled here will be preparing welcome meals of traditional Syrian food for those arriving this week.”
The council leader says that everyone continues to be moved by television images and reports showing the appalling ordeal that tens of thousands of refugees from Syria are going through. He said: “This is a genuine and horrendous humanitarian crisis affecting men, women and children. When the situation started to unfold and it became clear that both the Westminster and Scottish governments intended to act, we said that South Lanarkshire Council were willing to help.
“We have had reassurances around the safeguards that are in place to ensure people are genuine refugees, and how councils will be funded to assist them.
“As we prepare to welcome more families this year, other social housing landlords will be involved in helping us house the refugees.”
Angela Crawley, MP for Lanark and Hamilton East, welcomed news of the refugees’ arrival in town. She said: “Scotland has a great reputation for welcoming refugees and communities across South Lanarkshire have shown themselves to be caring, open and appreciative of the Syrian refugees’ plight. The struggle that has been faced by the Syrian people as a whole is heartbreaking, and we have a duty to step up to the plate and show the empathy that these men, women and children deserve.
“I am delighted that two families will be joining our community and I know that the people of South Lanarkshire will make them feel at home.”
Some South Lanarkshire residents have previously voiced concern that taking in refugees would stretch the area's housing stock too much , but that has been denied by the council.
The resettlement scheme provides assistance to Syrians who have fled to neighbouring countries as a result of conflict in their homeland, including survivors of violence and torture, women and children who are at risk, and people who need medical care.
The UK Government have expanded the SVPRS to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees from camps neighbouring Syria by 2020.
The Scottish Government have said that Scotland should accept 1000 refugees as a starting point. To date, 700 have been relocated to new homes in Scotland.
Refugees settled in Rutherglen are providing valuable help preparing for the arrival of the new families, working with council support officers compiling a welcome pack which contains useful tips on a variety of topics.
Funding arrangements covering the cost of taking part in the scheme have been confirmed by the Home Office and the Scottish Government.
Families are given humanitarian protection and can remain in the United Kingdom for five years, qualifying for full access to public assistance and funds.
Refugees from Syria are also set to start their new lives in Motherwell this month too, after North Lanarkshire Council agreed to re-settle them.