Photo by Alessandra Kocman
Refugee Resettlement in Suffolk
The UK government is running schemes to bring in 23,000 of the most vulnerable refugees, in family groups, from camps in the Middle East and North Africa over a period of five years. Suffolk has committed to taking 230, in proportion to our share of the UK population. SRS has been engaged by Suffolk County Council to provide specialist casework and to be the primary link with other agencies and support services.
On arrival, all the refugees are being housed in private accommodation (not council houses) in the greater Ipswich area, in order to readily access all the support services they will need.
As of July 2019, we have welcomed around 125 people to Ipswich under the schemes. Despite all they have been through and the complex needs and vulnerabilities through which they were selected for resettlement, the families are settling in well and starting to succeed in their new lives with our support. Some are working, volunteering or setting up their own businesses, including two Syrian refugees who have been a valuable part of the staff team at Suffolk Refugee Support. Children are thriving in school and excelling in their studies, many speaking good English just months after arriving knowing barely a word. We have even welcomed the first babies born to resettled families, with these new arrivals representing hope for the future.
We have been overwhelmed by the generous response and kind gestures of the local community towards the families arriving in Suffolk. People have raised funds, donated household items, become befrienders and offered a warm welcome. As and when we need items or offers of help, we advertise for them through our Facebook page. We are always looking for more befrienders to help newly-arrived families settle in – you can find out more by visiting our Volunteer page, or donate to our work here.
We are also urgently looking for private landlords who would be willing to rent move-on properties to resettled refugees who have been in the UK for 18 months – 2 years. This is an important step for families in rebuilding their lives and also helps to free up programme properties for new arrivals. If you think you might be able to help, please see here for full details.