Councillors to consider Scottish Borders scheme for Syrian refugees

Councillors are to receive an update on Scottish Borders Council’s commitment to resettle Syrian refugees in the region at the next full council meeting on Thursday, November 12.

The report asks councillors to agree that SBC begins negotiations with the Home Office, with the proposal that the Borders aims to welcome up to 10 refugee families over the next four years as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

This figure would be in line with the region’s share of the 2,000 refugees coming to Scotland.

The report proposes that two families are resettled initially in the Galashiels area, with other locations considered as the scheme progresses in future years.

The Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme prioritises refugees who are women and children at risk, people in severe need of medical care and survivors of torture and violence.

As a result, the Council, local registered social landlords, NHS Borders, Borders College and Police Scotland are working together to ensure these families who have suffered significant trauma are properly settled and supported.

The report also acknowledges the significant support offered by community organisations and members of the public, with a plan to approach the voluntary sector to help establish a group to provide additional assistance for refugees.

SBC’s Executive Member for Social Work and Housing, Councillor Frances Renton, said: “The Council and its partners are fully committed to assisting the UK and Scottish government’s Syrian refugee schemes.

“Being an area which has not previously been involved in the relocation of refugees has meant we have taken more time to get ourselves into a position to welcome families. However, it is vital we ensure we are fully prepared and have everything in place ahead of their arrival.

“These are vulnerable people from a war-torn country who have undergone a traumatic experience. I am sure the people of the Borders will welcome them into their communities when they arrive.”