City's Humanitarian Response

Published

12th November 2020

DUNDEE’S award-winning response to the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and Africa has been highlighted in a new report.

Since 2015 the city has become home to around 50 families under the banner of Dundee Humanitarian Protection Partnership working with the Scottish Government, COSLA, Scottish Refugee Council and other partners including NHS Tayside and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Refugees mostly from Syria, but also Iraq, Ethiopia and Somalia have been settled in Dundee as part of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and the associated Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS).

John Alexander convener of Dundee City Council’s policy and resources committee said: “It has been our view since day one that the latest groups of people to become new Dundonians deserved the chance to settle down and build new lives for themselves with as much support, dignity and normality as we could give them.

“Many parts of the council and external agencies as well as people in our communities have put in considerable time and effort to help around 200 individuals make the transition from refugee to, in the best possible way, just another resident of Dundee.

“Their hard work is paying off and with our support a group of fellow human beings who were living in fear are now safe and getting on with their new lives in a city which is pleased and proud to have them.”

The scheme is wholly funded by the UK Government’s Home Office and since its inception more than £2m has been invested in helping some of the most vulnerable people identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees settle in Dundee.

Accolades received by the partnership since it was established five years ago are also highlighted in the report. These include a COSLA Gold award for the Get Ready for Work Programme, and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) award, ‘Silo buster’, recognising “joined up thinking, working and delivering”.

In line with the Scottish Government’s New Scots Strategy, the Dundee Humanitarian Protection Programme views refugee integration as a two-way process, bringing positive change for refugees and host communities, helping to build a more compassionate and diverse society.

More digital and socially distanced learning and support was made available during periods of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When the time is right organisations will re-introduce limited face-to-face work to support the needs of the most vulnerable, including those who have little or no English, no literacy in their own language, generally have the poorest mental health and are isolated from friends and relatives.

The report will be considered by the council’s policy and resources committee on Monday (November 16).

Dundee City Council

Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.

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