Churches welcome Norfolk decision on refugees
Councillors voted overwhelmingly to accept Syrian refugees to Norfolk at a meeting on July 25, after much pressure and lobbing from local people.
Norfolk’s councils pledged last year to resettle 50 refugees fleeing the war in Syria. However this promise had not been progressed months later, due to lack of organisation and release of funding from central government.
On Monday July 25 the decision to finally accept the refugees was agreed at a meeting at Norfolk County Council with the vote carried by 64 votes to six with one abstention.
The scheme is part of the five year government initiative to accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees nationally from camps in Syria. Survivors of torture and violence, women and children at risk and those in medical need are given priority.
Local church members and leaders have lobbied local councils for months to act on the promises they made for Norfolk to be a sanctuary for a small number of Syrian refugees. Public marches and meetings have been held and members of the Christian community are able to prepare for the refugees’ arrival.
Bishop Graham said: "I am glad to learn that Norfolk will welcome some Syrian refugees. Those who have known persecution and been displaced from their homes and countries have found a haven in Norfolk in past times. It is good that this tradition continues. I am sure many local people will do what they can to support the Syrian families when they arrive."
The Bishop of Norwich’s fund has received several thousands of pounds in donations already to assist the cost of housing and supporting the refugees.
Churches and other faith groups and voluntary organisations have shown a united front in favour of welcoming the Syrians and in their desire to offer support as they settle into Norfolk.
Pictured: Campaigners outside County Hall on the morning of the crucial vote. Picture courtesy of Mustard TV