First Syrian refugees due to arrive in Norfolk in January

Syrian children who fled due to fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels. Pic: AP Photo/Muham

Syrian children who fled due to fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels. Pic: AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen. - Credit: AP

The first Syrian refugees heading to Norfolk to start new lives will start arriving from January, council bosses have announced.

Preparations are well under way to welcome those fleeing civil war, with community leaders and voluntary organisations having offered to help smooth the arrival of the refugees, who will be housed in Norwich and Broadland.

Norfolk County Council voted in July to accept 50 vulnerable Syrian refugees into the county through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, a government initiative to accept up to 20,000 refugees from camps around Syria over the next five years.

And the government has signalled the refugees will be arriving from the end of January. The refugees will not be housed in council homes, but accommodation will be sourced through the private sector leasing schemes operated by Norwich City Council and Broadland District Council.

Cliff Jordan, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: 'Norfolk has a long tradition of extending the hand of friendship to those in need and the many letters we have received from local residents concerned about the plight of Syrian refugees shows that this will be no exception.

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'Many local residents, faith groups and voluntary organisations have offered their help to resettle refugee families, and this – along with the excellent and extensive work already done by officers and councils in Norfolk – will give the scheme every chance of success.'

Mr Jordan stressed the government scheme gives priority to survivors of torture and violence, women and children at risk and those in medical need.

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