Councillor Catherine Gibbons, Executive Member for Children’s Services and Lifelong Learning, said: “It’s devastating to see families fleeing war, violence and persecution and vital that we help in times of need. That’s why North Somerset is a place ready to welcome refugees and people seeking asylum - offering safety, shelter and an opportunity to rebuild lives."
“We have a proud history of helping those who find themselves in these desperate situations and will continue to work alongside residents, key partners and community organisations to extend a hand and provide hope."
“I’d also like thank residents for their efforts to make people feel welcome over the years, as well as overwhelming offers of long and short term accommodation, clothing and other practical items. These gestures are what make North Somerset the kind and caring place we call home.”
North Somerset Council welcomes refugees from Ukraine and is providing access to a number of services to help them settle into their new surroundings. Residents have also pledged accommodation and Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS) are coordinating donations through the Ukrainian Support Appeal. To find out more, including how you can offer a room in your home to Ukrainian refugees, visit: www.n-somerset.gov.uk/council-democracy/get-involved/ukraine-crisis
North Somerset is also assisting the Government’s Asylum Dispersal Programme, providing temporary accommodation to people seeking asylum whilst they await a Home Office decision on settled status.
Accommodation includes meals and access to a number of support services and is funded by the Home Office. Local organisations including parish councils and community groups continue to work together to ensure the ongoing health and wellbeing of those staying in the accommodation.
Young people under the age of 18 who arrive in the UK unaccompanied by a parent or adult family member are also supported, becoming looked after by North Somerset Council up to the age of 18 and offered further guidance and assistance up to the age of 25.
For families fleeing violence from Syria and Afghanistan, we ensure that there’s access to privately rented accommodation and a number of services to help them into education, employment, health services and more.
The continued support of local people and community organisations is a lifeline for families and young people arriving in the UK. If you would like to help or donate you can find out more about the voluntary organisations working across the region, at https://bristol.cityofsanctuary.org/what-we-do/bristol-organisations