Marking the Welcoming of 1,000 refugees to Scotland

In Edinburgh earlier today Equalities Secretary and the President of COSLA praised the efforts of communities and councils across Scotland after confirming that more than 1,000 Syrian refugees have settled here.

The milestone was announced during a visit to The Welcoming, an Edinburgh project that provides English language lessons to refugees, as part of the City of Edinburgh’s response to the Syrian resettlement project.

Convener Maureen Child and Vice-Convener Lewis Ritchie of the Communities and Neighbourhoods Committee were there to meet Angela Constance MSP and Cllr O’Neill and observe a lesson. 

The announcement comes in the run-up to the first anniversary of the Refugee Summit, which met on September 4 2015 to consider Scotland’s response to the refugee crisis.

Following the summit, a taskforce was established to help address immediate practical needs such as the opening of bank accounts and applying for residence permits, as well as considering longer term integration issues like ensuring people can learn English.

This work has helped more than 1,000 refugees successfully settle in 29 local authorities since October 2015 – around a third of the refugees that have settled in the UK through the Government’s Syrian Resettlement Programme.

Councillor Child, said:

“There has been a huge response from the local Edinburgh community with lots of offers of practical help which has been particularly heart-warming.

“The City of Edinburgh is committed to playing its full part in this refugee crisis and we look forward to working with the Scottish and UK Governments and local partners to ensure the continued resettlement and successful integration of refugees in the city.

Jon Busby, the director of The Welcoming said:

'This visit is a great opportunity for the Welcoming to demonstrate the way that it works to support and befriend thousands of migrants and refugees that arrive in Edinburgh every year by helping them to start new lives and make Scotland their new home.

“The Welcoming delivers this through an all year round, open-door and immediate start English language for social and cultural integration programme.  This is part of the City of Edinburgh Council's Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme which includes the Community Learning Development ESOL Programme and Saheliya.”



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