Manchester City Council

Welcome to Manchester

 

I had written something on the current refugee crisis but lost it when I lost my connection to the server. In the meantime, Councillor Paul Andrews, who leads in the Council on refugees, had circulated the letter below to councillors and as it contains much useful information I thought I would circulate it more widely.

I am absolutely clear that Manchester will willingly take its share of refugees, as we currently do and always have done, but, if we are to give refugees the support they need this needs to be properly and fully-funded by the government as part of a national response.

The NW region as a whole is currently receiving the highest number of Syrian nationals in the country via the asylum programme, although only a minority of local authorities, including Manchester are participating in this.

When Manchester was originally approached by the Home Office in February 2014 (long before the current crisis) to participate in the Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) Scheme for Syrian refugees, we indicated our willingness to do so but were unable to secure an adequate scheme or funding from central government and as such in the landscape of unprecedented budget cuts and reduced services, it was felt that we could not effectively resource and provide the appropriate services which would certainly be required. However, a commitment was made that if the Home Office were prepared to negotiate in terms of appropriate funding, that we would be open to further discussions. We have maintained dialogue with government in the hope of making progress but unfortunately the Home Office were unable to progress this further and discussions proved fruitless. 

Enabling a resettlement scheme can take some time and would undoubtedly require working in collaboration with our partners in order to secure the appropriate accommodation and support required

If we were to take steps to mobilise a resettlement scheme at a City level with immediate effect, accommodation would in the first instance have to be provided via our homelessness service.

I know that members of the group wish to help as best they can. Having consulted with Refugee Action they are advising that the best help we can give is to contribute money to help improve conditions in refugee camps, and to help those who are already here and due to arrive.  Therefore, Sue Murphy and I have asked the Lord Mayor’s office if we can launch an appeal to raise funds that can be provided to the relevant organisations that have projects specifically working with the Syrian Refugees and this will be launched at the beginning of next week.

There are other ways of providing support and these are appended below.

We need to continue to put pressure on the government to act quickly and decisively to make sure that the resources are available to enable Manchester to support people in crisis.

If you need any further information, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best regards

Paul

Refugee Action have advised that if people want to help personally that they can donate to either themselves or one of their partners agencies. The contact details in terms of website and numbers are below. The giving page states that people can donate money and they ask for people to be signposted to their website (www.refugee-action.org.uk/give) or via phone: 0845 894 2536., Or if they wish to donate clothes that these can be dropped off at their Manchester Office:

Canada House

3 Chepstow Street

Manchester

M1 5FW

0161 831 5420

Save the Children: distributing essential items such as nappies, hygiene kits and food

http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.7998857/k.D075/Syria.htm

Red Cross: providing emergency health services at central train stations

http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Emergency-response/Current-emergency-appeals/Syria-Crisis-Appeal/What-we-are-doing-in-Syria

Migrant Offshore Aid Station: Runs independent rescue boats to rescue migrants at risk of drowning

http://www.moas.eu/donate/

International Rescue Committee:  improving living conditions by setting up camps

http://www.rescue.org/crisis-syria

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): providing water, mosquito nets, tents, healthcare

http://donate.unhcr.org/gbr/syria/

World Vision: providing food, water, shelter, education and psychosocial care

http://www.worldvision.org.uk/ways-give/make-donation/syria-crisis-appeal/

Medecins Sans Frontieres: Has three rescue ships in the Mediterranean

http://www.msf.org.uk/make-a-donation

Unicef : United Nations childrens charity providing food, health care, clean water and psychological support to children

http://www.unicef.org.uk/landing-pages/donate-syria/

 

There is one response to “Welcome to Manchester”

  1. Anon Says:

    I worked in Manchester and Blackburn. Previous schemes to resettle refugees and asylum seekers by the Home Office were shameful, bypassing Councils to work with cheapest-bidder private landlords, all because of media pressure in Home Counties. Poorest areas with highest profits to be made, were given no infrastructure support - just a welcome pack! This was Jack Straw's tenure, so its hard to expect better now. I guess we just have to do what is right, without illusions of Government understanding or finance.

 

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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