Luton Borough Council has met with some of the town’s faith leaders to discuss additional ways that Luton can respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Leader of the Council Hazel Simmons and council officers were joined by representatives from Suffa Tul Islam Luton, Churches Together, Luton Council of Mosques, Luton Council of Faiths, Luton in Harmony, Churches Together in Luton, along with the Catholic Diocese of Northampton and the Diocese of St. Albans, to discuss Luton’s response.
Attendees were provided with an overview of the challenges the town faces in terms of a shortage of housing and the Council’s provisional offer to accommodate 10 young people.
The ideas discussed ranged from setting up any potential crisis or day centres which may be required, to offers of help in terms of further collections or interpreters.
Rehana Fiasal from Suffa Tul Islam Luton said: “The current refugee crisis is the greatest we have seen since World War II. We are heartbroken at the stories and images of men, women and children who have fled their homes to escape violence and persecution. No human being takes such decisions lightly. These young people will need a great deal of support, beyond the practical needs of food and shelter, and we are committed to working with the council to ensure that these needs are met.
“There is however much more that we can do as a town. Indeed, we are truly humbled by the depth of sympathy and compassion that has been shown already by Lutonians. Numerous efforts have been made across the town to raise awareness and get aid for the refugees. This sense of giving and generosity is not something new to this town; it is the Luton way, and we are immensely proud of this.”
Cllr Simmons, said: “I have, as ever, been moved by all of the individual acts of kindness and offers from Luton’s residents, businesses and community organisations.”
Details on exactly how the government scheme will work is still not clear but there are local people and organisations already collecting clothes and equipment to support refugees caught up in the crisis. The Council has set up a special web page on its website to advise people of the various ways they can help.
Another meeting with community leaders will be arranged once further information and guidance on the scheme is announced by the Government.
To find out how you can help visit www.luton.gov.uk and click on ‘Refugee Crisis’. This page includes a form for anyone who could potentially accommodate refugees. More information about ways people can support will be added to this page as it becomes available.