Harrogate welcomes first Syrian refugee families to town

Welcoming refugees in Harrogate
Welcoming refugees in Harrogate

The first of 50 Syrian refugees to be resettled across the district have been welcomed into Harrogate, the county council has confirmed.

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) revealed that the first seven families, comprising 34 people, arrived in July and have been settled across Craven Harrogate and Selby.

Harrogate is set to house 50 of North Yorkshire’s allocation of up to 200 Syrian refugees after plans to take part in a national resettlement scheme was backed by councillors last year.

Coun Carl Les, leader of NYCC, said: “We welcome these new arrivals to the county and, thanks to thorough preparation by the organisations involved, are confident that their settlement and integration will be as smooth as possible.

They are being supported by local volunteers as well as public sector partners, and we are locating people in areas where there is good access to services.

“The priority for the refugees and for those supporting them is that they settle in and start to make independent lives for themselves as quickly as possible.”

Coun Les explained that the refugees are being offered intensive support from district councils, the police, NHS clinical commissioning groups and the Refugee Council.

The refugees will be helped with language support, access to services such as GPs and integration into the community which will be in place for a year.

The Refugee Council is also working with local volunteers to provide longer-term befriending support to ensure that the refugees can become independent as quickly as possible.

North Yorkshire will resettle the refugees between now and autumn 2018 in response to the government’s announcement last year.