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Refugee Support

The government has confirmed it is accepting an additional 20,000 refugees from Syria over the life of the parliament. The refugees are being selected from the established camps in Syria, and from elsewhere in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Priority is being given to orphans and families with vulnerable children, and the refugees are being processed largely through the Refugee Resettlement Programme.

The government has committed to "work intensively with local authorities and the devolved administrations to put in place the necessary arrangements to house and support the refugees that we resettle ... " and have been asking local authorities to help. This service includes zone teams, parks and recreation, community enabling and development, crime and disorder, activity centres, museums, arts and culture, equality and safeguarding.

Colchester Borough Council has been instrumental in providing services and support for refugees under a variety of Home Office schemes over the years. Most recently the Council gave unanimous support to instigate the Refugee Resettlement Scheme working with Essex County Council, public sector and voluntary sector partners, especially Essex Integration. We are proud of our achievement in welcoming 13 Syrian families since the start of the programme.

In order to strengthen our commitment to those who face the ordeal of being separated from their families and home this Council pledges to:

  • continue to do all in its power to welcome and assist refugees and all those forced to seek sanctuary in our Borough.
  • ensure services and resources are accessible, including by signposting, translation, and advocacy.
  • acknowledge the pledges of institutions, businesses, individuals and families across Colchester.
  • declare ourselves as a Borough of Sanctuary, following the examples of other local authorities already signed up to the City of Sanctuary principles.

More information about the City of Sanctuary principles can be found here pdf icon City of Sanctuary Charter [930kb]

How can you help?

If you have any properties to offer for Syrian refugees (preferably at the local housing allowance (LHA) rate), please contact Essex Integration , using their contact page. Please note housing offers will be subject to a safety inspection by Colchester Borough Councils Private Sector Housing Team.

City / Borough of Sanctuary 

City of Sanctuary is a movement committed to building a culture of hospitality and welcome, especially for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. It is a network of local groups including boroughs, towns and cities across the UK and Ireland, all committed to building this culture of welcome across every sphere of society. City of Sanctuary operates under local group names. You can find out about Colchester's local group here at their Facebook page

If you can help or would like to join the 67 groups and individuals working together to make Colchester a welcoming place for all those seeking sanctuary, please contact the Colchester Borough of Sanctuary Group via their Facebook page here and let them know the support you can offer.

Useful links and websites

Below is a useful list of local services, active voluntary sectors and faith groups who can offer valuable advice, assistance and support to refugees whilst they settle into and establish their new lives in Colchester.

Welfare BenefitsBenefits
Financial inclusionMoney Advice Service
 Colchester Credit Union
 Citizens Advice
 Colchester Borough Homes - Homelessness Support
HealthHow to register with a GP
 How to register with a Dentist
 Colchester Walk In Service
 Colchester General Hospital
Refugee servicesEssex Integration
 Refugee Action - Colchester
Older peopleAge UK Colchester
Younger peopleYouth Enquiry Service
CV and work supportSign Post

We do not endorse these websites nor are we affiliated with any of them (other than Welfare Benefits, Colchester Borough Homes and Essex Integration).

Would you like to help?

If you would like to make a donation or volunteer find out how you can help on the Government's website.

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