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Plea for people to donate furniture - and their time - to help Norfolk-bound Syrian refugees

A Syrian refugee holds her daughter at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. Pic: AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

A Syrian refugee holds her daughter at an informal tented settlement near the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. Pic: AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen

People in Norfolk are being urged to donate household furniture - and their time - to help Syrian refugees fleeing civil war to start a new life in the county.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil PerryAndrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

And landlords are being invited to register to let their properties out to the new arrivals, with a hundred more Syrian refugees due to make a home in Norfolk over the next two years.

Norfolk County Council voted in July 2016 to accept 50 vulnerable Syrian refugees through the government’s resettlement scheme, which set a target to offer sanctuary to 20,000 people fleeing civil war over five years.

They have been housed in the Greater Norwich area and, in the summer, county councillors agreed that a further one hundred refugees should be similarly welcomed.

Norwich City Council backed the scheme, but deputy leader Gail Harris warned the challenge of accommodating them should not be underestimated.

And now the leader of Norfolk County Council has appealed for donations of unneeded furniture and for people willing to volunteer to support the refugees.

County Hall leader Andrew Proctor said: “The Syrian refugees have been through so much hardship and with Home Office funding we are proud to support them as best we can. We want to ensure they get a new opportunity to rebuild their lives in Norfolk.”

The refugees are not put into council homes, but are housed through the private sector leasing scheme.

The councils are appealing for people to rent out their properties, who can sign up to a partnership with Norwich City Council’s LetNCC scheme.

And, to prepare properties for the new arrivals, the county council is looking for any unneeded furniture to be donated to the initiative.

Large items such as sofas, chests of drawers, bed frames or other items of household furniture can be collected from the homes of those who make them available. People can visit www.gov.uk/help-refugees to make donations

Smaller items can be taken in a box to any Norfolk County Council Library marked “PFA Team, NML” and the library service will deliver it.

The county council is also looking to recruit volunteer support workers to help the refugees, such as by helping them form links with the community and to use public transport.

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