Councillors asked to approve resettlement of 17 refugees in Richmondshire

Refugees from Richmond and Colburn helped Richmond-based charity Just the Job and local villagers create a new community orchard in Hudswell.

Richmondshire district councillors will be asked to approve the resettlement of more refugees in the district at a meeting next week.

Officers are asking for authority to push ahead with the resettlement of at least 17 refugees between 2020/21 and 2023/24.

A report for councillors stated that seven refugee families – 26 people – were resettled between January and February 2018, using six properties in the district.

Two families – nine people – have since left the district.

Moves out of the district have been due to the families wanting to move nearer to relatives.

Council officers said the progress of the adults in attaining a reasonable understanding of the English language has generally been slow.

Colin Dales, the council’s corporate director for operational services, said in the report: “This has been the case overall in the county and very few of the adults resettled in the district could understand any English when they arrived.

“In all cases, children were able to secure a school place at their nearest school or an alternative school within their local catchment area.”

As of September 2019, no adults are in employment, the report stated.

However, two adults have undertaken work experience and are attending college with a view to studying vocational courses.

Mr Dales added: “A number of other adults are volunteering and are being supported to enter into employment, with various options being explored.

“It is expected that in the coming months there will be accelerated progress into employment, especially as the adults’ understanding of the English language improves.”

Around 200 refugees have been resettled in North Yorkshire as part of the Global Refugee Resettlement scheme.

Officers say there are a number of positive reasons for participating in the initiative.

Mr Dales said: “On the whole, the previous refugee resettlement programme has progressed smoothly in North Yorkshire and the families have settled in relatively well considering their past traumatic lives.

“The Refugee Council has commented that compared with some of the larger metropolitan areas in the region (with
more established Arabic-speaking communities), the refugee families in North Yorkshire have more quickly built up their understanding of the English language and their independence.

“Fifteen clients of working age are now in employment – eight are in full-time work and seven are in part-time work.

“Two of our young adults will be starting apprenticeships in September 2019 and a number of our other young adults continue to attend college.”

Officers say the current level of funding provided by the Home Office to local authorities is sufficient to provide appropriate levels of support to the refugee families resettled in North Yorkshire.

The issue will be discussed at the council’s corporate board meeting on Tuesday, November 12.

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