Over the next twelve months Edinburgh will welcome 100 Syrian refugees. The council had already decided to offer housing and assistance to 25 earlier in the year, but in light of recent events that total will now rise to 100.
Some time ago the City of Edinburgh Council, along with Glasgow City Council, signed up to the UK Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. This means that the council is in a position to welcome families from the area who have already been identified by the UN as having the utmost need. Those who have suffered violence, women and children at risk and those who need medical care are given priority and the council hope that some refugees will come to the capital very soon.
The council has already had conversations with charities and with Police Scotland which means they are in a position to proceed with assistance more quickly than other councils who have not yet signed up to the scheme.
Syrian families will come here to Edinburgh where they will be offered housing, access to employment, health care and schooling.
The First Minister announced recently that Scotland will welcome at least 1000 refugees and as a result the council will now increase the number they will take to around 10% of that. The position of refugees and this kind of assistance is a reserved matter on which the UK Government has to take the lead, but only last week the Prime Minister bowed to political pressure and confirmed that the UK will take 20,000 refugees over five years.
The costs of the assistance programme will be funded mainly from the UK Government with some funding from Holyrood, but Council Leader Andrew Burns said: “This is a humanitarian crisis and we have to step up to the plate. We are proud that we will play our part here in Scotland’s capital city.
“The key measure of success will be that the number of refugees moving here will integrate successfully into the city in terms of their home, social and professional lives.”
The council will also continue to work with its charity partner Mercy Corps who are already in Syria helping families there to get food, water and shelter. The charity which has its European base here in Edinburgh has an ongoing campaign to which you can make a donation.
Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse has set up a collection centre at Muirhouse Community Shop for items to be taken to Syria by Edinburgh Direct Aid.
Chairman of TRIM Robert Pearson said: “We are once again delighted to work with EDA our local charity who works internationally.
“Acting as a collection point is the least we can do, previous collections have went so well!
“Many locals in the area have been talking about the sheer devastation and the shocking pictures that certain media outlets have been posting about the ongoing issues. They really want to do something to help and this is one way they can”