We are keen to play our part in the national programme to relocate refugees says East Devon

The process of assisting refugees is led by Governmental policy, and, in the case of Devon, normally co-ordinated locally by the County Council. Devon County Council is the relevant social services authority and it is anticipated that they will play a key part in any local offer of support.

It would appear that government are looking to build on the existing Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme  to target assistance to 20,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in camps near the border, over the next five years.

The council understands that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will help identify Syrians to be prioritised for resettlement and organise transport to UK airports. The Refugee Council will then transfer refugees to areas offering support. This is a voluntary scheme and to date it has been mainly cities and towns involved in the complex process of resettling refugees.

As a housing authority East Devon District Council would expect to work with the County Council and assist in placing such numbers of refugees as may be allocated to the district. In the past, most refugees have tended to be placed in urban areas where there is easier access to the many support services that are required.

In the meantime, behind the scenes, the council is currently working on its local arrangements and contributions to the crisis in preparation for a coordinated approach with all tiers of government.

Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, said:

During the past 48 hours East Devon District Council has received a number of enquiries from concerned local residents as well as the media regarding the Syrian Refugee Crisis, asking how they and the council will be able to help. While we are awaiting more detailed advice from the Government, we would like to express our deep concern about the refugee situation and to confirm that we are keen to assist in any way we can as part of a practical local support network to help refugees resettle successfully.