Council agrees to help refugees but does not commit on numbers yet

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The cabinet discussed how vacant holiday accommodation could be used to house refugees while efforts would be made to work with other councils.

The cabinet also agreed to produce information sheets to inform the public what they can do to help and to encourage fundraising.

Cllr Chris Saint, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council said: “Stratford District is ready to play its part in any nationally agreed and co-ordinated approach to refugees as well as formulating its own response. District residents are keen to do all they can to help support these people – collect charitable gifts, hold charity collections and even offer rooms in their homes.  We will do our best to help co-ordinate all of this along with other partners and the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership so we can understand what is needed in terms of support and the provision of public services in order to deliver an effective and co-ordinated response.”

There is no word yet as to if the district council will commit to taking in a set number of refugees though campaigner Dom Giles from Shottery is urging people to sign an online petition demanding that Stratford takes in 50 families.

The petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/refugees-welcome-in-stratford-on-avon has so far been signed by 43 people.

The petition calls for people to sign and put pressure on the council and Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi to push for Stratford to accept refugees.

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that Britain would take in up to 20,000 refugees over the course of the parliament, directly from camps in Turkey and Jordan.

The David Cameron also confirmed that the cost of resettling refugees would be met through the UK’s aid budget to ease the strain on local authorities.

Although there is yet to be a decision on Stratford taking in refugees, a number of residents have already decided to take matters into their own hands by helping those in Calais.

Volunteers in Stratford are in the process of collecting supplies to distribute to refugees at the sites during forthcoming trips to Calais.

Are you planning to help the refugees? Let us know by emailing news@stratford-herald.com.

Read more on this story in Thursday’s Herald.