Last year following increasing public concern and international pressure the UK announced that Syrian refugees would be brought to the UK under a Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. All coming under this scheme will be from the camps in countries bordering Syria such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Priority will be given by the UNHCR to refugees who have medical needs, have survived violence and torture, are women or children in situations which make them particularly vulnerable or have legal or physical protection needs.

The Extern Syrian VPR Resettlement Support Service provide key-workers to support individuals and families arriving under the NI Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. Staff work intensively with individuals and families from point of arrival, providing holistic assessment of needs, practical support and link-up with statutory, voluntary and community services to help families resettle in NI. This service is provided in partnership with Barnardo’s NI.

This morning a team of Extern and Barnardo’s staff took delivery of approximately 360 welcome packs for the Syrian families who will arrive in Derry in the near future. The welcome packs included food packs, household materials, furniture, toiletries, toys, children’s clothing and sporting equipment.

All the goods were brand new and still in their original packaging. These welcome packs have all been donated by local residents and some small businesses and were organised by the Derry City and Strabane District Council. Staff were overwhelmed at the generosity on show and the messages attached to the boxes by local school children welcoming these families to the North West.