Wiltshire is one of nine pilot areas where people can log online to offer help to support refugee families who have settled in the county. The Help Refugees in the UK webpage has been launched by the Home Office to allow people interested in providing support to log their interest and detail the support they can provide.
In the Wiltshire Council area, people wishing to help can offer in a number of areas including community, group and cultural activities, housing, electrical goods and toys, vacant housing, full or part time jobs or fostering and independent visiting. Wiltshire already has an army of volunteers who have helped the refugee families and individuals who have now settled in the county. In December 2015, 27 refugees came to Wiltshire and 14 more people have settled here this June. Six more are joining later this summer. The volunteers have been part of a strong multi-agency approach to ensure the individuals and families have all they need to settle quickly into their new homes and communities. The latest groups of families and individuals are based all around Wiltshire with each family or person having a volunteer on hand to support them as they become accustomed to the British way of life. This time the arrivals were also able to benefit from the help and insight of the eight families (27 individuals) who had already settled in the county. In the few months since they arrived, they are already integrating with their communities and volunteering or gaining work experience as well as preparing to find work. Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: “We are very grateful to the many volunteers who have ensured our families and individuals have been made to feel welcome and settle into their new homes. Wiltshire was one of the first local authorities to welcome refugee families and we’re proud to be a pilot for this programme which will ensure even more people who feel they can help in some way can volunteer.” People willing to help can access the website on https://help-refugees-uk.service.gov.uk/next to register the services they can offer. Wiltshire Council will then wherever possible match these offers to those who can benefit.