Support for refugees
Cotswold District Council's Cabinet has pledged to support and accommodate five security-cleared refugee families in the Cirencester and/or Moreton-in-Marsh areas (subject to availability of housing).
Our preferred option is to provide privately-rented long-term self-contained accommodation. The housing team sources suitable options, ensuring that they are adequately furnished and that families are provided with essentials such as bedding, towels and crockery. The team ensures a smooth transition for the families and on-going support from the Council.
We keep this arrangement under review, including any impact upon public services in Cotswold District. We take all possible steps to ensure that any impact on communities and on our housing waiting list is kept to an absolute minimum. With this in mind, our preference is to use private sector accommodation or, if required, hard-to-let social housing.
How you can help
A number of charities and non-governmental organisations operate appeals specifically aimed at these refugees. However, there are many more charities and not-for-profit organisations out there that are also supporting the Syrian appeal and other 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:
If you have any queries about local accommodation for refugees, please contact our housing team on 01285 623000.
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 Syria Crisis Appeal - £30 could buy 28 mats to hep people cope with the cold.
- Oxfam Refugee Crisis - Since January 2014, Oxfam has built and repaired water systems that serve almost one million people inside Syria. It has also undertaken water treatment activities, improved sewage systems, and worked on hygiene promotion in schools.
- Save the Children - £60 could provide two families of four with heaters to keep them warm.
- Médecins Sans Frontières: The humanitarian agency has three rescue ships in the Mediterranean, on Tuesday alone they rescued 1,658 people in its biggest day of operations.
- Refugee Council: A donation of £100 could pay for the education and travel for two children for a week.
- Unicef: The UN’s children’s charity is providing life-saving supplies such as clean water, medicine and psychological support. It says a donation of £9 could provide an emergency water kit for a family.
- Migrant Offshore Aid Station: The charity which runs independent rescue boats to rescue migrants at risk of drowning has seen a huge spike in donations since pictures of the drowned Syrian boy emerged.
- Aylan Kurdi Fund: A specific fund named in honour of the drowned boy was set up within 24 hours of the circulation photographs of his body emerging. All proceeds will go to the humanitarian agency
- Crying Out for Calais: An Oxfordshire-based community project which is appealing for money to buy supplies to take to refugees in Calais. This includes the purchase of tents, sleeping bags, roll mats, stoves and clothes.