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First Minister to establish Syrian Refugee Taskforce

Plans to address the challenges and responsibilities facing councils and public bodies responding to the Syrian refugee crisis were set out yesterday in a summit held by First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones.

The summit, which was also attended by Communities & Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths and Public Services Minister, Leighton Andrews, brought together key agencies and service providers to develop a plan for implementing the expanded Vulnerable Person Relocation Scheme for Syrian refugees in Wales.

The new Syrian Refugee taskforce will be chaired by Lesley Griffiths and will lead the Wales-wide approach to the crisis by co-ordinating the work of all organisations to ensure Syrian refugees are resettled in Wales as efficiently as possible.  

Speaking after the summit, the First Minister said yesterday :

“Today’s summit was a very constructive meeting of key organisations who are ready and willing to play their part in responding to this crisis which has shocked the world.

“I will continue to make the case to the Prime Minister that the UK should offer refuge to far more than twenty thousand people over the next five years. I will also write to David Cameron to inform him of the outcomes of today’s summit and once again call for resources to be provided quickly to ensure we are able to support vulnerable children and adults as we approach Winter.”  

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, added yesterday :

“I have been heartened to see the public outpouring of support for refugees from people across Wales over the past weeks and months.

“We have, again, shown ourselves to be an open and welcoming country and so now is the time to take effective action so we can start resettling refugees within Wales.

“The Public Services Minister and I met with a group of Syrian refugees yesterday to hear about their experiences and discuss what support they need to help them settle in Wales and begin to rebuild their lives.

“Today’s summit built on yesterday’s meeting. It was about beginning to identify what resources and infrastructure are needed to support the resettlement of Syrian refugees within our communities.  A broad range of issues were discussed, including the vulnerability of refugees and their health care needs, language barriers, housing stock and support for unaccompanied refugee children.  

“We will work with partners to take forward the actions agreed in the meeting and build on the constructive discussions we have had today.”  

Following the summit, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, launched a consultation seeking people’s views on the Welsh Government’s Delivery Plan for Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The three year plan, which was developed in partnership with local authorities and the third sector, prior to recent events in Europe, sets out how services for refugees and asylum seekers in Wales can be improved.

The consultation focuses on health care provision, children, community cohesion and housing and provides a timely opportunity to consider the current crisis and ensure the plan is fit for purpose in light of the changing circumstances.

At the end of the summit a short Communique was agreed by all partners, setting out their commitment to working together to develop a co-ordinated approach to responding to the Syrian refugee crisis.


Channel website: http://gov.wales

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