The Positive Reality of Welcoming Refugees within Northamptonshire

As the conflict in Syria intensifies the UNHCR has anticipated that the number of refugees seeking safety across international borders will increase. Calais and Hungary are already struggling to deal with the increasing number of refugees camping within their borders. Therefore it is important that other States offer support to reduce the effects of this crisis. The UNHCR is encouraging international community to demonstrate solidarity with countries hosting Syrian refugees by offering resettlement opportunities, humanitarian admission places, and family reunification or other forms of admission for Syrian refugees. Intervention is critical and necessary in order to protect vulnerable refugees who are in urgent need of safety and protection. Therefore, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council are urging residents, employers and local authorities within Northamptonshire to support and welcome refugees.

Some people are concerned about the effect that rehousing refugees will have within their local community. We appreciate that when public resources are under strain this is a big concern for local residents. Nevertheless, NREC strongly believes that the effects of welcoming refugees with not have a negative strain as long as the crisis is managed properly. If we were to rehouse refugees evenly across the county there would be minimum strain on resources and current resident’s standard of living. This would also have a positive impact on refugee’s integration within their new local community.

In response to David Cameron’s announcement (that the UK will take in 20,000 refugees by 2020) Councillor Markham has agreed that Northampton will ‘play its part’ in re-homing Syrian refugees. “We have all been affected by the images of families and children who have had to abandon their home and flee in search of safety and security. Northampton will play its part in helping these people.” Nevertheless, the local authorities have not yet confirmed how many refugees Northamptonshire would re-house. We are hoping this figure will be released shortly. In the mean time we have provided some estimated figures below.

There are 48 counties within England. While we are yet to find out how many refuges Northamptonshire will support we are going to divide refugees evenly across these borders to demonstrate how Northamptonshire could support their fair share of Refugees. We appreciate that refugees may be relocated based on funds available within each county and current populations etc. Nevertheless, if the proposed 20,000 refugees were divided evenly across each county, each county would welcome less than 420 refugees by 2020.

There are over 300 schools in Northamptonshire alone. If Northamptonshire accepted say 105 families/420 people we could make an average guess that there would be around 210 children. However, this figure is likely to be lower as there are currently more young adult males than women and children.  Nevertheless, if we will use these figures for example purposes. If Northamptonshire rehoused 105 families evenly across the county with one refugee family in on average within each school jurisdiction on average most schools would only need to accommodate one new student and there would still be some schools unaffected.

There are over 300 schools across the county of Northamptonshire. Therefore even if each school only accepted two new students Northamptonshire would be able to more than manageable educating 600 refuges students if they were relocated evenly. That would be less than one new child in each year group. With these less than generous figures England could more than comfortably rehouse around 29,000 refugees, which is nearly 50% more than what David Cameron has proposed.

Using these figures similarly 2-3 new young health adults seeking employment within each local community is not going to put a strain on employment opportunities or public resources. Even if we accommodated statistics where the odd property might house 4-6 single adults they would still have a minimal burden on the resources and quality of life for occupants living within each community. You would barely notice the effects of an extra 4-6 people living in 1 property in each community.

When you look at this figure of refugees resettled using a proportionate method it actually emphasises how few resources would be required within each community.

Note: For the purpose of this blog, when using the word ‘Community’  we are referring to a group of people living within the same area such as an estate or village where residents are expected to share the same resources such as schools and doctors surgeries. This enables us to access the affects on public services of refugees resettling evenly across the county, instead of settling together in larger groups in large Towns which may be lacking resources.

Next week we will be publishing a blog on how you can help refugees migrating to Northamptonshire.

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