Preparations are continuing for the arrival of approximately 200 refugees into North Yorkshire over the next five years, including 17 in Richmondshire.
All of the county’s seven district councils have now signed up to the Government’s global resettlement scheme with the first set of families due to arrive later this year.
The 200 people coming to the county equates to 1% of the Government’s resettlement target for the country, a report produced for North Yorkshire County Council states.
The refugees, who in the first instance will be mainly from war-torn Syria, will be spread out around the districts based on population sizes, with 52 proposed for Harrogate, 35 in Scarborough and 30 in Selby and Hambleton.
The remaining will be split between Selby (29), Richmondshire (17), Craven (19) and Ryedale (18).
The report prepared for the county’s Corporate and Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny committees meeting on March 2 adds: “The schedule of arrivals across each of the seven North Yorkshire districts will begin with resettling families in no more than three districts at a time.
“Resettlement will be over the space of several months in the initial districts before moving on to the remaining districts once the former have reached their agreed resettlement number.
“For practical reasons, it is not envisaged that a district will spread out its resettlement of families across each of the years 2020/21 to 2023/24 as this would be more difficult to manage and require a greater level of resource on an ongoing basis.
“Future arrivals will continue to be resettled in towns to ensure that they have access to the appropriate support services. If new arrivals are resettled in the
same town in the district as our existing refugee families, it will help to consolidate a support network between families and possibly improve outcomes.
“Careful consideration will be taken locally as to regards the country and cultural background of refugees being resettled under the new scheme from each flight and in relation to existing immigrant communities.
“Resettling only one family from a separate cultural background to other refugee families heightens the risk of that family moving out of the county. In the first few years it is anticipated that most of the refugees will continue to be from Syria due to the continuing crisis there.”
Between 2016 and 2018 the local authorities in North Yorkshire received 238 refugees (50 families) fleeing the conflict in Syria.
Speaking in October when Scarborough Council agreed to the resettlement programme, the authority’s leader, Cllr Steve Siddons, said the decision was a humanitarian one.
He said: “The important thing to remember is that these refugees are families, often with young children, who are fleeing war zones, they are not economic migrants looking to come over here for work or to claim benefits
“These are people who will have been traumatized by the ongoing conflicts we are seeing and are escaping for their safety.”