URGENT: Message re Syrian Refugee Crisis

As you may be aware, central government has requested that all local authorities across the country help to relocate a number of refugees affected by the crisis in Syria. These are likely to be people who are most vulnerable, women, children or those who are in need of medical care.

Relocation will impact on many areas of life: primary health care, social care, housing, employment, mental health services, etc. and so there is a need to ensure that the efforts of all authorities, voluntary and statutory, in West Sussex are coordinated. WSCC are very keen to work with the Voluntary & Community Sector to coordinate the many offers of support that are being received at County and District and Borough levels and to ensure that organisations in the community that are best placed to offer on-going community based support, receive the information they require and form part of a multi-faceted response. There is also the need to ensure that offers of housing and other support from the public is managed to ensure that these are appropriate and sustainable and that suitable help is utilised in the most effective way.

WSCC is working very closely with colleagues in all District & Borough authorities, in the Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust to ensure that the response is coordinated and that the infrastructure across the whole of the system is capable of supporting those that are relocated, whilst continuing to meet existing demand.

The County Council will take the coordinating role in the response and at this stage is undertaking fact finding exercises, collating information re housing from Districts & Boroughs and contacting the Home Office to understand the national support offers being put in place.

It would be very helpful if you could disseminate this message through your networks and liaise direct with my office if you are aware of any of the following:

  • VCS groups that are keen to help
  • Independent offers of help from the community
  • Syrian communities already in West Sussex
  • Arabic groups that might be in a position to offer practical support and welcome
  • Muslim and / or other faith groups that are expressing an interest in providing support
  • Assistance networks that are specialist in this area (refugee support networks or communities previously relocated – e.g. Sri Lankans or Chagossians)

Please send any enquiries or information that you think will be of assistance to graham.tabbner@westsussex.gov.uk 

Communication updates will continue as the response progresses and the offer becomes clear and they will be looking to arrange a mechanism to have a wider conversation to take the response forward. 

Thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.