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Norfolk has taken in more than 500 refugees since 2017, county council confirms

Norfolk has taken in more than 500 refugees over the past seven years, the county council has confirmed.

Since February 2017, 501 refugees have been resettled in the area with help from Norfolk County Council’s People from Abroad Team.

Of these arrivals, 276 were children at the time they arrived in the UK.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, says that ‘building a home in Norfolk is a priority’ for the refugees
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, says that ‘building a home in Norfolk is a priority’ for the refugees

Cllr Alison Thomas, the county council’s cabinet member for adult social care, said: “In the UK we are lucky to live in safety and be free to go about our business, regardless of the circumstances of our birth or our political opinions.

"It’s vital we don’t forget that for some people in the world, that simple freedom is denied, and that some people are forced to flee their homes by violence and persecution.

“I never cease to be amazed by the huge amount of work our teams do to ensure those who arrive in this country have the best start possible. They support families with housing, health, employment and many other elements that enable the best resettlement possible.

"I hope the 500 who have arrived in our county have happy, prosperous lives here, and that we have the chance to help many more realise their dreams of a peaceful, joyful life in our county in the years to come.”

These refugees have settled in Norfolk since the opening of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons scheme in February 2017, which was subsequently incorporated into the Government’s UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), which continues to support refugees coming to the UK.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, said: “Norfolk County Council’s People from Abroad Team have a strong reputation for their compassion and care for the refugees they resettle.

"Each of the 501 refugees resettled has their own story, often traumatic and fear-filled, but they also long for the day when it is safe for them to return to the places they love.

"For now, building a home in Norfolk is a priority and the county council’s team, together with churches, charities and many individual volunteers, provide a welcome and practical assistance which Norfolk has been known for over many centuries.

"It is an annual joy to welcome these refugees to a gathering at Bishop’s House and share in the incredible diversity of food that they bring, all recipes from their countries of origin.

"When we break bread together, joy and laughter fills our hearts as together we recognise that we are each precious in the sight of God.”

The work supporting these refugees is funded by the UK Government as part of these schemes, and carried out by the county council in collaboration with all seven district, borough and city councils, health and voluntary sector partners.

The individuals resettled in Norfolk were referred to the UK by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Many of those who resettle in Norfolk have to do so with nothing but the items they can carry with them. To help them build their new life, members of the public can donate goods to money to build a new home.

Find out what items are most urgently needed, and how you can support refugees settling in Norfolk more generally, at https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/article/43939/Help-support-refugee-resettlement

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