More than 50 children and their families have settled in Milton Keynes as part of Milton Keynes Council’s leadership work relocating families affected by the crisis in Syria.
Milton Keynes accepted seven per cent of the families allocated to South East England, which is around twice as many as the minimum number expected of MK by Government.
Because the families are settling in so well, the council’s programme is seen as national best practice by the Home Office, and it’s been asked to share learning and ideas with other
In 2015, council leader Cllr Pete Marland pledged MK would take its fair share of families displaced by the war in Syria, saying: “I believe we should stand ready to act on this desperate
humanitarian crisis. Milton Keynes is a place many thousands of people have come to in the past looking for a better life. As a city we should be prepared to take our fair share of people
who need safety and security at a time of need.”
The council has since worked with the British Red Cross, Citizens MK, and local schools, churches and landlords to help 83 individuals fleeing from persecution.
National funding is received to cover health, housing, social and educational costs for all refugees. In Milton Keynes the funding is partly used to lease houses directly from landlords for
the families, which means local pressure on council housing is unaffected.
Of the 83 refugees, more than two thirds are children who are now achieving through MK schools. All adults are taking English language classes, and receive advice from the council’s
employment services to help them to become self-sufficient as soon as they can.
Cllr Pete Marland added: “These children have had a terrible start to their lives, but now they’re safe and getting a good education because we’ve stepped up to play our part. It’s not just the council and our partners – this scheme has worked because so many people and organisations in Milton Keynes have opened their doors and shown a warm welcome.”