Powys County Council held a meeting on Wednesday 28th March to inform people from the Llandrindod community of their arrangements for Syrian Refugees coming to the town and to encourage the community to link to create a support organisation.
Four of the local Quaker Meeting were present, with another two currently in Africa who will be very keen to become involved.
Powys can be proud of their input to providing support for the Syrians in relation to the very low level of UK welcome to these devastated people. Powys initially set out to house twelve families but this expanded to thirteen, these families are based in Ystradgynlais and Newtown and there will now be a further six families in Llandrindod. The council's approach is refugee centred with the aim that after a period of support people will be able to live independently and successfully.
The families arrive through the Government's Syrian Resettlement Programme, funded by the Home Office, this provides support for housing, health, education, English language tuition and welfare benefits. The families will be able to claim benefits on the same basis as any UK national.
Caseworker support is supplied by a support provider and the community is asked to allow some three weeks for that process to be established before any additional support is provided by the community. The Council ethos of support is to help the families to do things for themselves wherever possible so their confidence, independence and self respect grows.
Llandrindod Local Quaker Meeting is a small group but it is very likely that members will want to be involved in any community support organisation. We know that help with conversation ability will be important for the new arrivals, also, as there is no existing Muslim structure there is a need for a prayer space. The Quaker Meeting House appears to be very suitable for such a space, having no Christian symbolism, two rooms plus a kitchen. We have already put the Meeting House forward as a possible place where this could be provided.