The Leader of Cambridge City Council, Councillor Lewis Herbert, has announced that the City Council is investigating plans for additional support services for refugees and asylum seekers in Cambridge, working with Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum and others, and also to build a new partnership on refugees with local authorities across Cambridgeshire and the East region, especially Peterborough. These schemes are in addition to the city continuing to welcome and settle families of at least 100 Syrian refugees under the Home Office programme, with the Council already over half way to that objective.
Speaking ahead of two major Refugee Week events in Cambridge this week, Councillor Herbert said: “At a time when several truly awful events in Britain speak of attempts to divide our community and target innocent civilians, it is vital to restate the welcome that Cambridge as a City of Sanctuary offers to refugees and the unity of Cambridge as a tolerant, peaceful community. Refugee Week brings together many different partners to raise funds for, or discuss, the vital and wide-ranging work being done by so many.
Cambridge City Council was one of the first councils to welcome refugees as part of the Syrian Resettlement Programme in 2015 and we continue to take families and individuals fleeing violence and conflict in Syria. However, some asylum seekers or refugees arrive in Cambridge through their own efforts and we recognise that their lack of legal status means that many need help too, and access to high quality advice.
We want to work with Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum and wonderful volunteers from groups like the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign and build on their contributions and develop support services for other refugees arriving in Cambridge or already here, as well as investigate more specialist advice and support for refugees on citizenship, employment, and training and work opportunities.”
Councillor Herbert added: “Cities like Cambridge and Peterborough are key areas regionally for refugee resettlement and, working across Cambridgeshire through the new Combined Authority and the East of England group of councils, we can deliver even more support for refugees and asylum seekers in need of support and sanctuary.”