Earlier this year we committed to resettle 100 Syrian refugees over the next five years as part of the government’s scheme to resettle 20,000 people across the UK by 2020.
Five families made up of a total of 23 refugees will be coming to live in our city in the coming weeks - 13 of them will be children.
A number of residents told us they wanted to help welcome them to the city, so last week we published a list of items needed to help furnish the houses for the families. You can find out more at www.peterborough.gov.uk/syrianrefugees
Peterborough has a proud history of welcoming those that need our help to the city and the response to the donation drive so far shows that this is still very much the case.
We’ve had offers of beds, children’s toys, vouchers for days out, pushchairs, clothes and much more.
Thank you to those that can, and have, supported the arrival of these refugees, all of which will have been living in camps after being forced to leave their homes for their own safety.
We are also working hand in hand with some wonderful local charities to welcome and support the refugees including CareZone, Children of Adam, PARCA, KingsGate Community Church, PCVS and Rainbow Saver Credit Union.
Any donations over and above what is required will be distributed to other city families in need through the Peterborough Community Assistance Scheme. This is an initiative we set up a number of years ago and helps around 350 families each month.
We agreed to resettle the Syrian families after receiving assurances from the government that they would provide funding to cover all the health, social and educational costs for all individual refugees. This is in addition to them being able to access benefits, such as housing benefit to pay their rent.
The families will move into homes that were either empty properties which have been brought back into use or houses in the private rented sector; in order to not put additional pressure on the city’s social housing waiting list.
We believe this is the right balance to be able to help those in need without putting significant extra pressure on services in the city.
It’s been a good few weeks for our schools with record breaking GCSE results and A-level results above the national average.
More children than ever before achieved A* to C in English at GCSE and there was also a leap in the number of students achieving five A* to C grades including maths and English.
The results are fantastic and a credit to the young people who worked hard to achieve them, as well as the teachers, other school staff and parents who have supported them to get the best grades possible.
Currently 86 per cent of our schools are judged good or better by Ofsted and these results show that our schools are also raising the bar when it comes to attainment.
I know that all of our schools are committed to improving attainment further and we will continue to support and challenge them as we want our results to be progressing year on year.
I was sad to hear of the passing of former council leader Neville Sanders on Friday.
I’ve been a councillor for 39 years and I can honestly say that he was one of the best, if not the best, leader I have worked under.
He understood the views of the man on the street and he worked hard to improve life for them. Beneath the exterior, he had a caring side and he was terribly generous.
No matter your views, Neville clearly made his mark on the city and he will be remembered for many years to come.