I'm often asked about the progress of the settlement programme for Edinburgh. As some of this has not been reported widely elsewhere here are a few key points to update.
- The first families arrived on 17th November last year
- There are currently 15 families and 58 individuals in Edinburgh
- Housing has been provided in the private rented sector
- Almost all costs have been provided by the UK Home Office
- Schooling, English language teaching and job coaching is all being provided as appropriate
- Edinburgh Council committed to take 100 in the first year and the remainder of those planned to come to Edinburgh are expected over the summer
- Edinburgh Council agreed earlier this week to extend the city's involvement in the resettlement scheme taking similar numbers (around 100) each year for a further four years.
- Discussions are under way for the resettlement of some unaccompanied asylum seeking children
- Whilst the Council is leading in negotiations, a number of other organisations are involved such as Edinburgh Churches for Sanctuary, FreshStart, the Central Mosque as well as private individuals
- It should be noted that there are many other refugees and asylum seekers in Edinburgh beyond this UK Government sponsored programme as well as organisations endeavouring to help them
You can see the latest Council report here.
I've made contact with some of the refugees - some of whom were provided with accommodation in the ward. That has been a good experience though basic things like language has been a challenge in communication at this stage. In many ways they are well provided for. I sense the biggest need is for meaningful socialisation and integration with neighbours and the community. Early days yet.