North Lanarkshire Council have confirmed that they will resettle around 120 Syrian refugees in the period 2015-2020, as part of the UK Government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. By August 2016, families were living in Airdrie and Coatbridge, with new arrivals expected to move to Bellshill and Motherwell.
A small number of asylum seekers are living in accommodation in different parts of North Lanarkshire.
Fresh Start – North Lanarkshire is a project run by Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire, the local Third Sector Interface for the area. Fresh Start – North Lanarkshire is designed to help Syrian and other families rebuild their lives in Scotland.
North Lanarkshire was the only Scottish local authority to welcome Congolese refugees back in 2007, providing those families with the opportunity for a fresh start. Now the region has welcomed new neighbours; a number of Syrian families arrived in November 2015 and further families are expected over the course of the coming year, as part of Scotland’s contribution to helping address the Syrian refugee crisis.
An excellent partnership has built up around the local Syrian Integration Group consisting of community organisations across Airdrie and Coatbridge, the Third Sector, Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire (VANL) and North Lanarkshire Council. The outpouring of goodwill inspired the Integration Group to explore whether the efforts and lessons learned over recent months and years could be developed into a local voluntary organisation supporting diversified communities and all minority ethnic and new migrant communities in the area.
“Fresh Start, North Lanarkshire – welcoming our new neighbours” is the result, and the new organisation has pledged to recognise the richness in cultural diversity and to promote equality and integration within and between communities. It aims to involve local people and organisations to take positive action to address poverty, discrimination and promote social inclusion for refugees, minority ethnic and new migrant communities arriving in North Lanarkshire.
North Lanarkshire based community organisations or any individuals committed to the aims of “Fresh Start, North Lanarkshire” and interested in becoming members, please contact Judith Bremner at Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire (VANL) on 01236 748011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The group would like to encourage a wide geographical spread of membership to ensure it is inclusive of all communities in North Lanarkshire.
Wishaw to Calais is a community group organised through Facebook which raises and collects donations for distribution in refugee camps and shares information and raises awareness online. They have collection points in Wishaw and Motherwell – for more information see the Facebook page Wishaw to Calais.
Cumbernauld Supporting Refugees is a voluntary group organised through Facebook which helps to arrange collections of goods for distribution in refugee camps.