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Community / SIC ready to accept Syrian refugees

A map of Syria.

TWO FAMILIES who have fled civil war in Syria will be resettled in Shetland in the coming weeks.

Shetland Islands Council (SIC) said on Wednesday that its preparations for the two families to move into accommodation in Lerwick were almost complete.

The SIC signed up to the UK government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Scheme back in 2015, and since then it has been putting in place a range of services and support, including the purchase of housing and the appointment of a dedicated housing officer.  Recruitment is also underway for a translator.

Council convener Malcolm Bell said the SIC has been working hard with its partners to make sure that any incoming families’ arrival is as seamless and stress-free as possible.

“We made a commitment to our community, and to our fellow local authorities that we would join them in supporting this project, and I’m pleased that now we’re ready to fulfil that commitment,” the Lerwick North councillor said.

SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison added: “Our next step will be to hear when and if families have been identified in the relocation camps who would be able and willing to come to us.

“Shetland has a long history of welcoming and supporting those unfortunate enough to be affected by war, and I believe that our community will do what it can to support families who have been so badly affected by recent events in Syria.

“Our first priority has to be their wellbeing, and part of that will be giving them as much peace and privacy as they need for as long as they need it – something which may have been in very short supply for them in the past.”

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021