North Lanarkshire prepares to welcome new intake of Syrian refugees

A previous intake on Syrian refugees are welcomed to North Lanarkshire in 2016
A previous intake on Syrian refugees are welcomed to North Lanarkshire in 2016

North Lanarkshire Council is preparing for a fourth intake of Syrian refugees this year and intends to provide around 10-12 houses in Bellshill and Cumbernauld.

Since 2015, 133 refugees have settled in the area, starting new lives across North Lanarkshire.

The UK Government’s resettlement programme will end early next year so this final intake of refugees will need to be confirmed by December.

The report to the Youth, Equalities and Empowerment Committee provided details about the lives of the Syrians who have settled in North Lanarkshire.

Several have gone into further education, though some have withdrawn from their courses due to the increasing demands on their linguistic skills.

They are receiving additional tuition to help them develop the levels of English fluency needed to enable their return.

A group of refugees visited the Scottish Parliament where they met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and toured the building.

Efforts are also underway to recruit volunteers to assist council staff when the fourth group arrives.

Despite the resignation of the chairman of Fresh Start NL, the council has approached the Scottish Refugee Council and other groups to see what support is available from Glasgow-based organisations.

The council is also looking beyond the end of the Syrian Resettlement Programme in April 2020, participating in a strategic migration partnership founded by COSLA.

Neil McGrory - Local Democracy Reporting Service