Syria: we’ll house one refugee family a year

Harborough aid worker Emma McNamara took this photo of refugees in Greece, camped out on a petrol station forecourt
Harborough aid worker Emma McNamara took this photo of refugees in Greece, camped out on a petrol station forecourt
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Harborough District Council says it will try to house one Syrian refugee family a year for five years.

The council will work with the private sector to ensure that one property within the Harborough district is made available.

But a local refugee organisation, while welcoming the news, said: “This announcement barely begins to address the problem”.

Paula Alexander of Market Harborough Helping Refugees, said: “We welcome the news that one property within the Harborough district will be made available each year.

“However, we are concerned that this announcement barely begins to address the plight of the three million men, women and children fleeing civil war and currently living in sub-standard conditions in refugee camps across Europe and the Middle East.

“We therefore call on the UK government to help alleviate this humanitarian crisis by significantly increasing the number of people it is prepared to help under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.”

And independent aid worker Emma McNamara, from Market Harborough who has just returned from another trip to Greece to help refugees there, added: “It is a step in the right direction. However, given the huge scale of this humanitarian crisis, I do feel that more should be done by our Government and the EU leaders.”

District councils in Leicestershire are working together to find homes for refugees under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

Councillor Blake Pain, Leader of Harborough District Council, said: “We will be working with others to ensure that safe and secure homes are provided to families affected by the distressing situation in Syria. We will be offering support for the families as they settle into the district.”

Opposition group leader Cllr Phil Knowles said: “This was a decision by the leader of the council. We’ve had no opportunity to participate in discussions or decisions.

“We’d welcome a chance to contribute to a debate on the number of families that Harborough could accommodate.”