HELPING REFUGEES SETTLE AND INTEGRATE
Plus Dane Housing
Refugee support and resettlement
‘Plus Dane Shap’ has worked with Halton Borough Council to resettle and integrate 23 refugee families (100 refugees in total) from war-torn Syria in Halton over the last 12 months. The latest intake of families arrived in the UK in January, as part of the Syrian Refugees Resettlement Programme, a government scheme committed to the resettlement of refugees.
The team has supported the council in setting up 23 properties in Halton - three of which Plus Dane offered itself. This has involved Plus Dane tradesmen and apprentices building furniture, putting up curtain poles and blinds and fitting and securing safety gates.
As well as ensuring the families have access to appropriate health, education and employment/training opportunities Plus Dane Shap has also been offering them support to obtain any welfare or benefits the families are entitled to and to budget effectively.
Some of the services provided by the staff at Plus Dane Shap to aid integration include showing the families where they can buy food and other supplies in the local area, providing information about local transport services, providing directions to the nearest mosque and arranging meetings at the job centre.
Furthermore, an out of hours service is provided by an Arabic speaking member of staff in the event of an emergency and all families are provided with English lessons to ensure they can settle into their community. Plus Dane Shap has also ensured that a community has been established, arranging opportunities for existing Halton residents to meet the new families in order to alleviate any anxieties and create an overall sense of wellbeing.
Ahmed, one of the refugees helped by the project, said: “Plus Dane Shap cared for us the moment we stepped off the plane, this is something we rarely see. The supervisors have given us so much. They took us to the job centre and they showed us the market and all the stores. They also brought us IDs. They have given us everything. We would be lost without them.”
Plus Dane’s Head of Supported Housing, Mary Newton said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Halton Borough Council with their Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme. Our team, along with the council officers and community volunteers, have worked together to do everything possible to ensure that the refugee families successfully integrate into Halton.”