Calderdale Council media statement issued on behalf of:
Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council
Cllr Stephen Baines, Leader of the Conservative Group, Calderdale Council
Cllr Janet Battye, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Calderdale Council
“We are shocked by the distressing images of refugees fleeing persecution and the war in Syria, a feeling we know is shared by people across the country. Many residents of Calderdale have already contacted us to ask how we can support these men, women and children.
“Calderdale has a proud tradition of providing a safe refuge for the victims of wars and persecution. The Council is already part of a national programme to provide for asylum seekers and refugees while many Voluntary and Community organisations provide vital care and support. We are confident that we can do more and are pledging our support to the Government’s new commitment to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK over the next five years.
“We have a lot of experience of re-homing and supporting people from all over the world who have faced persecution in their own country and have received threats to their life if they remain. Within the past month we have also worked with the Home Office to provide new homes for three unaccompanied children who are seeking asylum in this country. Once people join our community we have a strong network of support offered by our local voluntary and faith groups which work hard to help them adjust to life in their new country.
“The most practical support people can provide locally is to donate money to St Augustine’s Centre. Based in Halifax, it is the main voluntary sector provider of support for refugees in Calderdale, whether they need a hot meal, employment or immigration advice or just someone to listen. St Augustine’s is a small local organisation which, apart from a time limited grant for work on financial resilience, does not receive any funding from the Council.
“The centre currently has an ambitious fundraising appeal to raise £10,000 by Christmas. You can donate at www.give.net/20171078(external link) to provide them with the funds they need to continue their vital work. If you would like to volunteer at the Centre contact them via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is also a collection point at Hebden Bridge Town Hall for donations to Calderdale Calais Refugee Aid. A list of items which the group is collecting can be found at: www.hebdenbridgetownhall.org.uk/events/calderdale-refuge-collection-point(external link)
“We can all also take more immediate action to help ease the suffering in the refugee camps across Europe, by making a financial donation to one of the national organisations working with the refugees, such as Save the Children; Red Cross Europe; the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or Refugee Action,
The Council website has more advice on how you can help, which includes links to relevant support organisations.