Waltham Forest welcomes Syrian refugee families

21 November 2017


The first Syrian family to be taken in by Waltham Forest has arrived in our borough this month. Another family from the war-torn country will arrive before Christmas. 

The families will be helped by the Council and community groups to find work experience, and practical support from opening bank accounts to registering with GPs. Waltham Forest will also make sure children have school places and settle in well.

The Council has committed to taking in ten families in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria as part of the UK Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons (SVP) Resettlement Scheme that aims to resettle up to 20,000 Syrians in need of protection.
Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “I know many residents of our multicultural borough will offer a warm welcome to these families who have been through so much in their war-ravaged country. We are proud to offer resettlement to these innocent people to build a new life.

“We are making sure that children are able to start school as soon as possible. There has been an amazing amount of enthusiasm among our community in helping the families with social integration, befriending and practical support. Local community groups are also supporting parents with finding training and work experience. At the same time health services will be offering invaluable psychological support to these families after the horrific scenes they have witnessed in their homeland.”

By 2020 ten Syrian families will arrive in Waltham Forest. Each family will be helped to integrate into the community in their first year by the Single Homeless Project (SHP), a charity helping vulnerable people. It will offer them help with tasks such as setting up a bank account, registering with a GP, enrolling children in schools, learning or improving their English, and looking for work or volunteering opportunities.

After the initial year of support, the families will be settled in their new homes in the local community, but will be able to call on SHP for extra support for an additional two to five years.

Waltham Forest has already taken in a number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) from the Syrian conflict. As of November 2016, a total of 57 UASC had settled to start new lives in the borough. 

Find out more about the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme on the gov.uk website here