Statement on refugee meeting

Following this week’s meeting on the refugee crisis with the Council Leader and senior officers, Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Alison Moore said:

“On Tuesday this week Cllr Barry Rawlings, Cllr Adam Langleben and I met with Council Leader Richard Cornelius and senior officers, to discuss what Barnet council could do to support local faith and community groups and others in helping refugees fleeing war in Syria.

“We were grateful to Cllr Cornelius for agreeing to our request for this meeting, and we welcome the productive discussion that took place.

“The local community has already shown great energy, goodwill and compassion in organising initiatives to help Syrian families trying to reach a safe haven, and we believe that the council is well placed to be able to show leadership on this issue.

“There are many practical ways the council with its broad remit and connections could help which would not require a huge call on already stretched resources, but which could make a real difference.

“Suggestions that we raised at the meeting include practical assistance, for example using council buildings to help with the storage and processing of donations on a temporary basis, publicising where people can go if they want to volunteer to help, connecting people in need with translators and advice organisations, and working with local businesses who might be able to contribute practical help or resources.

“We also asked the council to consider using empty homes on regeneration estates that are liveable but that that they don’t intend using because they are set for demolition in six months, to house those in immediate need.

“We recognise that the council are waiting for guidance from the government on how many people each local area may be asked to take, but we can make some practical plans now to support the wider community in their efforts to help.

“Following our meeting we hope to hear soon what contribution Barnet council can make – as Cllr Cornelius and I have both said in previous statements, Barnet has a proud history of welcoming those seeking refuge. It’s important that we now step up and say what we can do.”

Ends.

For more information contact Cllr Moore: cllr.a.moore@barnet.gov.uk

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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