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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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2,000 Syrian refugees in Scotland for Christmas

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Refugees expected to be here for Christmas as part of the UK's emergency dispersal scheme

More than 2,000 refugees will arrive in Scotland before Christmas, local authority body Cosla has said.

They will be placed with councils across the country and receive support from central and local government as well as third sector groups.

Scottish Government ministers pledged to accept at least 2,000 of the 20,000 refugees which the UK government has agreed to take.

Eighteen local authorities will take the refugees. Some councils however are unable to sign up to the dispersal project as they are not equipped to support the refugees’ complex needs.

Cosla said Scotland's local authorities had an excellent track record in supporting the most vulnerable in society and already had effective systems and partnerships in place which makes them well placed to host Syrian refugees in their communities.

We fully recognise that this is not simply about matching people to houses - Harry McGuigan

Cosla president David O'Neill said: "A number of councils had already been in discussions with the Home Office about their involvement in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

"The last three weeks has seen all Scotland's councils willing to support a coordinated response to what can only be described as a humanitarian crisis.

"For many councils that has seen them committing to taking refugees immediately."

Cosla spokesman Harry McGuigan said he recognised the scale of the task and the need for detailed planning.

"We fully recognise that this is not simply about matching people to houses, and that we must meet the wider needs of people so that they can integrate into our communities and build a safe life in Scotland.

"The response to this crisis will therefore be focused on balancing the urgency of the situation with planning the most appropriate ways in which councils and their community planning partners receive and integrate these extremely vulnerable people."

It was announced this week that charities providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees arriving in Europe will receive £300,000 from the Scottish government.

The British Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Glasgow the Caring City and Edinburgh Direct Aid will share the money.