The first wave of Syrian refugees due to be resettled in Fife could arrive within a matter of weeks, it has emerged.
Councillors unanimously agreed plans to welcome 140 Syrian refugees to the region over the next five years part of the UK’s wider commitment to accommodate 20,000 refugees between now and 2020.
And with that in mind, it is now anticipated Fife could commit to receiving five Syrian households by late October/early November, while it has also been revealed that Syrian refugees will be given accommodation and support for 12 months to establish habitual residency as opposed to three months offered to Afghan families earlier this year.
Councillor Judy Hamilton, executive spokeswoman for housing and building services, called for communities to come together and give people a warm welcome.
She said: “We must be sure of our preparedness, resources and capacity to receive people from Syria, to welcome them to Fife for a long or a short time.
“All Scottish councils are looking at what they can do to help and I’d like to thank everyone who has offered support so far. However this is still a work in progress. Discussions are continuing through Cosla and it’s vital that this whole issue is properly resourced throughout the lifetime of the crisis.
“I would call on everyone to work together, harness political will and compassion and offer safe haven to these very vulnerable people.”
The Home Office, Scottish Government and Cosla have asked all Scottish councils to confirm they are ready to welcome refugees, and it is understood grant agreements are being finalised with the Home Office which will mean there will be no cost to the council for the refugees’ care.
However, councillors acknowledged the local authority could not cater for the Syrian families’ needs alone.
Mrs Hamilton added: “Many of these people will be very vulnerable, language will be an issue and they will need access to safe homes, health care, education and opportunities to make a living and a future.”