A new partnership is drawing up an action plan to help County Durham deal with refugees fleeing the Syrian warzone.
The Durham Humanitarian Support Partnership, led by the county council, will meet as soon as possible and look at the needs families arriving in the county may have, including housing, food, health, education, translation services and community support.
It will also look to work with churches, the voluntary sector and other organisations to identify what help may be required and how it should be provided.
The aim is to ensure refugees get the best welcome possible.
Coun Eddie Tomlinson, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for assets, homelessness, housing and rural issues, well chair the partnership.
“We have already expressed our commitment to play our part in responding to what is a desperately sad situation impacting on nations and neighbours across Europe,” he said.
While we have systems and processes in place already to meet the needs of refugees requiring our help, the numbers have been extremely small and the current crisis requires a very targeted and specialised response.Coun Eddie Tomlinson
“We are, therefore, taking immediate action to support this specific situation by launching a partnership which we believe will deliver the best possible outcome for the families needing our help.
“While we have systems and processes in place already to meet the needs of refugees requiring our help, the numbers have been extremely small and the current crisis requires a very targeted and specialised response.”
The partnership will include a cross-party member/officer working group and a raft of other organisations and agencies which are well equipped to support the initiative.
Further details will released as decisions are made.
The council is still waiting for the Government to provide details of how many families require the county’s support, any specific needs they may have and what funding will be in place.