Scottish Borders Councillors will today (Thursday) consider a report that asks them to enter negotiations with the Home Office over housing Syrian refugees.
They will discuss a 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 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.
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.
SBC, social landlords, NHS Borders, Borders College and Police Scotland are working together to ensure 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.
Executive member for social work and housing, councillor Frances Renton, said: “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.”
The public’s response was exemplified this week by Cheryl Duggan at Eyemouth’s Highway Day Nursery, who was collecting old clothes to be sold to a recycling company, with the money used to help fund the logistical challenges in getting the massive amount of donations to the most desperate.
Meanwhile Borders Aid Syria are looking for musicians, comedians and entertainers of all type to help raise funds with a show at the Hippodrome in December.
The event, on a date still to be finalised, will offer entrtainment from anybody who wants to help, as well as mulled wine for the adults and kids’ refreshments. More details will be on the group’s Facebook page.