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Refugees Welcome - Lewisham doing its bit to help those in need

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Lewisham Council is gearing up to help resettle desperate Syrian refugee families fleeing war and persecution.

At a Mayor and Cabinet meeting tomorrow evening, plans to take ten refugee families fleeing the Syrian Civil War will be discussed. This follows a commitment last year to welcome some of the victims of the war.

The families will arrive between January and March next year. The refugees will have permission to work and will be supported to integrate into the local community. Most of the funding will be provided by Central Government, however, councils are having to find some initial money out of existing tight budgets. Inner city areas like Lewisham also have a large demand for social housing, so the Council is working with local community groups to seek offers of accommodation so that people on the housing waiting list don't lose out.

Councillor Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Resources, said:

“We have all seen via the media the terrible suffering experienced by ordinary Syrian people as the country has been torn apart.

“Many millions of people have been forced to flee their homes and hundreds of thousands have been killed in the violence.

“Here in Lewisham, many individuals, as well as our faith and other community groups, have been trying to help as best they can, including offering accommodation.

“As a council, and on behalf of our residents, it is important we do what we can in the face of this awful humanitarian crisis – so resettling this small number of families with the help of our community is the least we can do.”

“As a borough we have experienced many waves of migration with around half our residents from Black and Minority Ethnic communities and we are well prepared and well suited to potentially welcoming these 10 new families.”

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