Where are we now? What is planned next?
Both Worcestershire County Council and Bromsgrove District Council have passed motions welcoming refugees. However they are both insisting on five years Central Government funding before actually accepting refugees. We do have several councillors, both district and county, actively concerned and working to ensure the councils fulfil their commitments.
We know funding has been promised for more than one year and we have now just heard that funding has been confirmed for five years. The funding will gradually decrease over the five years as it is assumed the refugees will find work and become more self sufficient.
We understand the local councils will be informed when refugees are coming to our area and will be given two months’ notice
The BRWR committee has been studying what will be required when the refugees actually arrive in Bromsgrove. To assist us in this we are planning a visit to Coventry where 78 refugees have already been settled with a promise for another 100 in succeeding years. After this visit we then plan to meet Bromsgrove District Council CEO, Kevin Dicks and Chairperson, Margaret Sherrey, to discuss how BRWR can supplement and assist the local council in supporting and welcoming the refugees allocated to our area.
We have a list of 90 Bromsgrove people who are interested in helping along with details of how they believe they can help. When meeting the organisers in Coventry and our own council we need to ascertain what exactly will be the council’s responsibility and how they plan to fulfil it. Then we can arrange with the council how we can best help. We will need to consider such issues as safeguarding as the refugees will include children and vulnerable adults.
We have been offered lessons in Arabic for beginners and some of the committee are planning to take this up. Although it will be essential the refugees will learn English, knowing simple greetings along with simple questions and answers will be very useful. Please contact us for further details if you wish to join these classes.
Our next public meeting is on Wednesday February 17th at 8 pm at the Council Offices in Bromsgrove. Hopefully by then it will be confirmed when the first refugees will be arriving. We are considering asking one of the refugees already settled in Coventry to address us. Professor Jenny Phillimore, Director of Institute for Research into Superdiversity at University of Birmingham has agreed to address us about Refugee Integration.
Jenny Phillimore has also informed us that she is about to run training sessions for volunteers and organisations working with refugees locally and she is working with Malvern Welcomes Syrian Refugees on a series of myth busting sessions with schools, businesses, churches and local authorities.. Any Bromsgrove people wishing to join please contact us.
.We were delighted that our member, Naeem Arif, was able to help organise the very successful joint Muslim and Christian interfaith service in St John’s Church on Sunday 22nd November in memorial to all those who died in the recent Paris terrorist attack. Bromsgrove showed itself as a compassionate tolerant town which we are sure will show the same qualities to those refugees who come here.
So things are progressing and we should soon be looking forward to welcoming these vulnerable refugees to our district. We will inform everyone and be calling on your help as soon as we have more definite information.
Help required: Does any person or organisation have access to a free meeting room we could use for committee meetings?