Support for refugees
Cotswold District Council pledges to support refugee families wherever possible, whether that is through national resettlement schemes or as part of the normal refugee programme.
How we helped Syrian Refugees through the national resettlement scheme
Since 2015, we have welcomed families to the county as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme, working with health, education and social care teams and in partnership with Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS) to make sure their needs can be fully met, and they are supported to build a new life.
83 families have been supported across Gloucestershire as part of this scheme.
How we will help Afghan refugees as part of the national resettlement scheme
At Cotswold District Council we are fully committed to supporting Afghan refugees find a safe new home and resettle in the UK. We will be playing our part to support the Government's plan to help Afghan refugees, which initially aims to help those most in need, particularly those who have been helping British operations in Afghanistan by supporting our military. We have already been working in partnership with the other councils across Gloucestershire to identify homes and prepare support for these refugees over the past few months.
We are currently working hard to identify suitable homes in Cotswold District to help house the families supported through the scheme. If you think you can help please read below. Working in partnership with the other Gloucestershire councils we have collectively pledged to support up to 35 families to settle in the county under the Locally-Employed Staff resettlement programme. We are working with our local specialist provider GARAS to deliver this commitment and to help resettled families to integrate into their new communities.
The details of the new resettlement scheme for Afghan refugees who have not worked with military is due to be announced by Government shortly. We will continue to do what we can and work with our Gloucestershire partners to play our role in supporting some of the most vulnerable refugees from Afghanistan to resettle in the UK.
How you can help
A number of charities and non-governmental organisations operate appeals specifically aimed at refugees. However, there are many more charities and not-for-profit organisations out there that are also supporting various humanitarian causes. We recommend that before donating you read up about them to understand how your activities and donations will be used in support of their work.
For more information and to offer help please:
- visit the Government’s response website or
- visit the Red Cross website
Donating money and/or goods locally
We recommend that you contact Gloucestershire Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS) on 01452 550528. GARAS liaises with other agencies in Gloucestershire who encounter asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants. This includes: negotiating access to services for refugees at a strategic level; offering support to those seeking asylum in Gloucestershire; welcoming them when they arrive; advocating for them in their daily struggles; supporting them if they face being sent back; and helping them adjust to their long term future if they are recognised as refugees.
Please also contact your local church - we know that prominent members of the clergy are keen to assist.
Donating money through national appeals
Most charities say they prefer a financial donation so they can target aid to where it is needed. The list below is not exhaustive, but a sample of the many national appeals that have been launched; some have spelt out exactly what a specific donation could provide.
- British Red Cross
- Save the Children
- UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- World Food Programme
- Refugee Action
People wishing to offer help can register on the government website Help refugees in the UK
Putting a Cotswold home forward for use in the scheme
We are looking for homes to help support the vulnerable families coming in through the scheme. If your property is used in the scheme rent would be paid in advance and direct to landlords. There are also set up costs for furnishings available.
Please note: We are looking for properties where the rent is within the Local Housing Allowance. Any properties will need to be safe and so we would ask for the correct gas safety and electrical safety certificates, a fire risk assessment and EPC compliance. Also we won't be able to accept any landlords on the Rogue Landlord Database or with outstanding complaints/ enforcement action.
If you have a property to offer for the Resettlement Programme, please visit: Afghanistan housing portal - offers of support