Plans to accommodate Syrian refugee families on the Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Executive members will later this week consider plans to accommodate up to five families who have fled war-torn Syria.

bombed syrian homes

Recommendations to offer a safe haven for up to five families who have fled war-torn Syria will be considered by the Isle of Wight Executive this Thursday evening.

Details of the recommendations have been revealed in papers for the Executive meeting (see below) and surround three specific government schemes; Unaccompanied Children, Asylum Dispersal Scheme and the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

Members will be asked to note the new statutory responsibilities and government intentions to fairly disperse asylum seekers awaiting approval to stay in the UK.

‘Determined’ to help
Although the council must make provision – as a requirement of the Immigration Act 2016 – for unaccompanied migrant and refugee children, there is no legal requirement for council involvement in the Asylum Dispersal Scheme or Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

However, in September 2015, the Isle of Wight council stated they were ‘determined’ to help Syrian refugee families. At that time, they were awaiting guidance from the Government, but Cllrs Steve Stubbings and Geoff Lumley said they hoped to provide a safe haven for at least ten families.

Host communities approaching capacity
The report reveals the three main South East host communities providing accommodation and support for those seeking asylum have been Hastings, Portsmouth and Southampton.

They, and others around the country, now say they are approaching capacity.

Papers go on to state that of the 14 councils in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area, “four have hosted refugee families, two have declined to make offers as they are participating in other arrival programmes, and five councils are assessing the implications of making an offer”.

The recommendation
Members will be asked to consider the following recommendation:

To improve the council’s readiness to respond to national migration and refugee re-settlement programmes. Actions will include the following:

(a) Noting new statutory responsibilities toward unaccompanied migrant and refugee children.

(b) Noting government intentions to consider accommodating temporary migrant residents on the Isle of Wight, and for the development of arrangements for responding to Home Office proposals, and reflect the aspirations of other councils in the region by accommodating up to five families.

(c) An assessment of council and community capacity to participate in the Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme and if appropriate, develop an action plan in response.

Image: syriafreedom under CC BY 2.0

Monday, 5th September, 2016 11:38am



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

65 Comments on "Plans to accommodate Syrian refugee families on the Isle of Wight"

newest oldest most voted
Island Monkey

I’m sure this plan will be very popular with the Island electorate, do you agree?


I think it’s a splendid idea :)

I for one am glad that the Council is going beyond the statutory responsibility and looking at our collective moral responsibility to protect some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. There will obviously be a vocal minority who offer knee-jerk opposition to any assistance being given that might mean a few pennies less being given to them, but frankly their opinion is nothing compared to… Read more »
phil jordan
DIOW et al: Each year around the end of August and beginning of September there is a photo exhibition in Perpignan, France. Not just any exhibition… but photo journalists from around the world display their work and images and imagery and it is extraordinary. I have been many,many times and visited again, this year, last Thursday. As always, one leaves with acute personal feelings and unease and… Read more »

How about protecting the young, vulnerable and homeless on the Isle of Wight? There are some desperate people in need of housing!

Steve Goodman
How about protecting the young, vulnerable and homeless everywhere? There are a lot of desperate people in need of housing, ignored for so long by the authorities and many of those of us who are more fortunate. On the Island, the former Frank James Memorial Hospital could have been housing people for the last 14 years (which would also have prevented the need for a lot of… Read more »

Fortunately the homeless on the island are not being bombed or killed or even put up as slaves, raped degraded and beaten. Nonetheless all state of homelessness is awful but we need to help those that are in greater need.

Dennis Firth

DaveIOW. I find your subtle comments quite filthy and offensive. I have had members of my family that have been on the Island Home Finder Scheme for years, and were absolutely refused housing because of their name. Can you tell me why?

I don’t think my comments were that subtle. I implied that there’d be selfish people moaning about this very worthy plan. Some comments here and yet more on IWCP have revealed that to be the case. If that offends you, think how offended you’d be bringing up a family in Syria and having barrel bombs dropped on your house. I have no idea why your family have… Read more »

I think it’s a wonderful idea.

If I had the space I would certainly offer to help.

We are still awaiting on the promises of accommodation made by Bob Geldolf and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Nothing happened as yet. I note the Archbishop of York is silent and anonymous on the issue. Perhaps he has more sense. Throughout this whole Syrian issue not a peep out of him. Some weeks back a councillor on this site suggested he would host refugees. With these five… Read more »

Archbishop of Canterbury took a family in a few months ago.


About time, it’s taken him long enough.

retired hack

Observer: when in a hole, stop digging.


Will they go on the council waiting list like the indigenous population? Contributors on this site have often complained about the shortage of social housing. Presumably some has been found for these people.



Steve Goodman

Government also complains about the shortage of housing (social & otherwise), but don’t seem to be solving the problems; too many people, high demands for housing, infrastructure, and finite resources, cheap disposal of public housing stock with little new build replacement, withdrawal of funding to the local authorities having to deal with the fallout, and so on.


Going by your minus 17 ratings I’m afraid I can’t.

barbara penman

Just hope they don’t get bored and complain like the ones on the beautiful Isle of Bute.

wise words

Good on the council. These people are in desperate need of assistance and am glad the council are formulating a plan to offer this assistance.


How about a plan for islanders?


I’m disgusted that people don’t think the homeless and needy on the island deserve a fair go as well. Says a lot really. Like I said, I’m all for helping these Syrians but surely we should start by helping the island homeless first. Obviously not. What a sad day for those in need who live here.

Amanda BH
What’s wrong with helping both groups of people? Why does it have to be one or the other? Believe it or not, if you spoke to those in the know about people actually living on the streets on the IW you’d discover that for many of them it’s a lifestyle choice. Of course there are those who slip through the net and need help, but that’s not… Read more »

“How about a plan for islanders”

Define “islanders”.

The refugees *will” be islanders when then live here.


Have a look at the IWCP article on this, appalling comments from many people. Make me ashamed to live here


The Daily Mail has succeeded :-(

Amanda BH

I wouldn’t recommend anyone look at the comments on the IWCP article, most are vile and disgusting. I’m surprised they’ve been allowed to remain there all day.


No, do please look at them.

It’s always a good idea to check the sewers now and again. Gives you a sense of perspective.


This is very good news, well done iwcouncil.

Geoff Lumley

The Council leadership certainly have IW Labour support for this. We urged the Council to offer help to a fair share of Syrian refugees last September. Its taken a while to come up with this, but I heartily endorse the proposed approach


I hope that these unfortunate people are made to feel very welcome here, but with our appallingly low wage levels, restricted social and work opportunities and dependency on the ferries we might not be doing them a big a favour as we might.


Hmmm, low wages and expensive ferries vs bullets and barrel bombs.

Tough choice.

I agree, and of course the island is a lot nicer than any inner city tower block in perhaps Portsmouth or Southampton. But when these people start to find their feet again Botley or Fareham might seem a damn sight more attractive. Compared to the northern side of the Solent the island is a prosperity blackspot for both refugees and residents alike. We should I hope make… Read more »

Is the picture of Syria or Sandown High Street?


I have no objection but given there are MANY people here on the island in dire need of housing surely we find homes for locals first?

There are problems, but they are often multi-dimensional where people are struggling and need a range of services to make it all work. Not that we shouldn’t be doing it, of course. This is different in that we can help by literally giving people a safe place away from flying bullets. Yes, people will need other support, but it is a different problem and they shouldn’t be… Read more »

Great news. But why only 5? It would be great to host 25 and then see what we can do.

I am somewhat puzzled by the whole refugee situation. The International agreement on refugees, as I understand it, is that refugees should be accommodated in the first country of safety which has signed the protocol. Thus anyone from Syria arriving in Italy or Greece should be accommodated there as the first place of safety. Why is it that refugees don’t feel safe in Italy or Greece and… Read more »
I believe the agreement is that refugees should be *processed* (i.e their status as genuine refugees ascertained) in the first country. Those that are determined to be genuine refugees (as most Syrians will be) can be given residence in any country in the agreement. It is absurd to think that Greece and Italy should house all asylum seekers who turn up on their shores. This is particularly… Read more »
Steve Goodman
Karma in action? For a long time our governments have adversely interfered in the middle east and elsewhere on our small world. Blair (and Bush) have done well for themselves despite their contribution to the present problem, and could probably afford to do their bit to show what could be done to deal with the misery and destruction bequeathed. Bliar has certainly built up a large and… Read more »
Diogenese's Barrel

Excellent idea but did I miss the part of the IW Council proposal which provides for self- supporting employment for these poor people for the rest of their lives on the island?

Steve Goodman

We might be missing the part about our MP’s government friends providing the means for the local authorities having to deal with this to do so.


I wish the island were able to accommodate hundreds of refugees but we are not in a position to do so when the IW Council is in such dire straits.

As a ratepayer, sadly, I believe it would be totally irresponsible of our Council to think they could offer help when we cannot help ourselves.

retired hack



Gesture politics again.

Steve Goodman

Or a civilised response to the political gestures involving the infliction of death and destruction on the undeserving?

m coakley
Back in October 2015, there was a long running “Onthewight” conversation about IOW housing needs. Councillor Jordan rejected the notion that there were 8,000 on the waiting list, but said that it was not his area of responsibility. He admitted that he didn’t actually know how many there were because the list was constantly evolving.He did however say that Councillor Peacey Wilcox was leading a review to… Read more »
Firstly this isn’t an either/or situation. Assisting Syrian refugees will not impact upon any local people awaiting assistance with housing. One of the reasons this has not moved forward sooner was to await confirmation that government would provide the additional funding required to house refugees. In response to your questions, there is no minimum income requirement to register with homefinder, the council’s housing register. The confusion arises… Read more »
m coakley
Councillor Baker Smith I think you were just a little hasty in rushing to make an assumption that there was a suggestion of either or – what is the phrase “where fools rush in….?” In fact I suggested no such thing. It was just an attempt to establish a few facts which always seems to be a problem with not only the current but also previous local… Read more »
phil jordan
m coakley: in June 2016 the ‘housing *waiting* list’ stood at 1877. I think Cllr Baker Smith has explained the other matters you raised fairly succinctly and feel that accusations of being unable to “establish a few facts” as “problematic” with the current administration ( a precis of your comments) to be ignoring just how far this administration has gone in leaving behind the almost total shutdown… Read more »
mike starke
The misleading “begging hands” picture in another Island media outlet reinforces the assumption that refugees from the Middle East are bound to be freeloading chancers from the back end of the Damascus dole queue. Earlier refugees to our country, including Jews fleeing Hitler and Ugandan Asians in the 1970s, came from all walks of life and many have gone on to contribute greatly to their adopted country.… Read more »
Such a fuss over 5 families joining us! Hardly a sea-change in Island culture in prospect. I hope in decades to come there will be articles written by some of them, looking back gratefully at the welcome we gave them, and the start in life we gave their chidren. They may become crazier about the Island than even we are! Think of their possible contributions to our… Read more »

Yes Councillor Stubbings this could be the case, or you could be wrong and it could be a disaster…


Uh? No, I’m me.

I’ve no idea why you would impute ‘disaster’ to a few desperate families coming here – unless it’s describing the mean-minded response of some Islanders. That’s a pretty disastrous reflection of who we are.

Let’s hope we’re not ourselves looking to the charity of others at some point. At this rate, we won’t deserve it.

Hmmm the pack mentality with your colleagues and all that.. This has nothing to do with charity or mean mindedness…. Islanders have a right to be concerned.. why do you never listen to us? Think of their possible contributions to our Arts – music, painting, food, poetry, stories seriously?? ….. Not to mention the practical skills they may bring with them…. lets hope they do. A few… Read more »

Puzzled at this persistent case of mistaken identity!

Anyone who has followed Cllr Stubbings’ posts here will know his preference for half a dozen succinct words, whereas I often go the other way. (It could all be a plot, of course ….)

steve stubbings

Thanks for your advice. I’ll try not to confuse the refugees (no apostrophe) with all the other stuff.

phil jordan
okayanyway: Hmmm….. do more with less? Where have I heard this mantra before…. oh wait, it’s from central government who want to cut our funding in such a way as to make the Authority insolvent…. whilst insisting we have to continue to deliver a certain level of services without that funding (statutory services…….). Actually, this administration is, and has, tackled existing problems with some degree of success… Read more »
Ouch. Those reminders of VWG, VBG and Ryde Theatre HURT. I saw Glen Tilbrook at RT in December 2004 for an utterly fantastic evening that he completely threw himself into, like we were the most worthy audience ever! Started off by coming up to the balcony unannounced, playing guitar and singing alone and unplugged, to get everyone on the floor – like a Pied Piper. I was… Read more »
steve stubbings

I’m delighted to report that this paper went, unanimously, through Executive last evening, as it did through Scrutiny on Tuesday. Clearly, many Isle of Wight Councillors, of all political persuasions, are completely out of touch with the views of those residents who so vociferously and callously oppose this initiative. What a relief!