Funding has been allocated for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Asylum Seeker and Refugee Plan.
At a meeting of the council’s Leisure and Development Committee on Tuesday, September 18, councillors agreed to provide funding of £14,000 to charity Vineyard Compassion for the provision of support services to asylum seekers placed in the borough.
This was proposed by Causeway Alliance Alderman Richard Stewart and seconded by Limavady SDLP Councillor Ashleen Schenning.
According to a report submitted to the committee, in June 2023, the council received and approved the Asylum and Refugee Plan which allocated a total sum of £162,095 from The Executive Office (TEO) sponsored by The Home Office.
The report explains: “This funding was allocated to council for research and development of local action plan; staff resource costs for the coordination and overseeing the delivery of the action plan; and programme costs for the development and provision of resources to support activities and services to aid integration.”
It adds that Vineyard Compassion have “support structures in place”. They have been identified “as the sole provider of services in the triangle area and are providing these services through the anti-poverty network for those who are most in need”.
The report continues: “In response to this gap in provision, and increased demand on existing wrap around services, Vineyard have recently employed a Welcome Co-ordinator for new arrivals to the CCGBC area.
“The Welcome Co-ordinator will visit the accommodations which house both individuals and families in Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine on a regular basis to provide information on local support and services to new arrivals, while providing access to their direct provision such as welcome activities, befriending, counselling, food and clothing banks to name but a few.”
There are currently over 100 individuals in the triangle area with spaces for over 50 additional individuals.