Leeds offers home to 200 refugees

Syrian refugees arrive on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey to Lesbos.
Syrian refugees arrive on a dinghy after crossing from Turkey to Lesbos.
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Syrian families could be making their homes in Leeds in weeks with the city set to offer help to 200 refugees from the war-torn country.

A council task force has judged that is the number of Syrians that can be helped by Leeds without putting strain on local services such as schools and housing after Prime Minister David Cameron promised Britain would accept 20,000 people currently in refugee camps.

Leeds has offered to help 200 Syrian refugees

Leeds has offered to help 200 Syrian refugees

It has also been confirmed that a small number of Syrian families Leeds agreed to help as part of an earlier request for aid could arrive in the city within a matter of weeks.

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The plan to welcome 200 Syrians over the next two years will be considered by senior councillors next week and council leader Judith Blake said it reflected the “compassionate” character of the city.

The council is expecting the Government to meet the costs associated with helping those fleeing Syria.

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Coun Blake said: “While we are still waiting to hear from the government on how they specifically see local authorities helping refugees trying to escape conflicts in the Middle East such as Syria, we have been very keen to ensure that when the details are confirmed, Leeds is ready and able to act as soon as possible.

“The creation of a city task force was a key part in ensuring that our response as a city would be both structured and coordinated. This work has helped inform a view that Leeds should offer to take up to 200 refugees from Syria over the course of the next two years, which I fully support.

“The response and offers of assistance from the people of Leeds to this crisis has been overwhelming, and as a compassionate city which also has City of Sanctuary status, we are determined to do everything in our power to help those people desperately in need of our help.”

The offer was made following talks involving the NHS, police and charities.

Councillors are also expected to authorise handing £100,000 from council funds to help charitees in the city supporting refugees.

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