Scotland has proudly led the UK in our response to the refugee crisis and it is important that we continue to do so. We must ensure that refugees that come to Scotland are given more than just a place to stay but also hope of a better future.
That is why the work undertaken by organisations such as Fife Migrants Forum is so important and I was delighted to be able to visit their offices in Kirkcaldy to highlight their efforts in ensuring that migrants and refuges are integrated into their local communities. The visit followed a roundtable meeting on the ongoing crisis in the Scottish Parliament which we both took part in.
Following the UK Government’s announcement that they would be accepting 20,000 Syrian refugees over the course of Parliament, the Scottish Government has agreed to their share of at least 2,000. Fife Council has signed up to accepting a number of these refugees to the Kingdom, with the first refugees due to arrive in the next few weeks.
The refugee crisis is still very real. I was pleased that Joanna could join me during the European and External Affairs Committee’s roundtable on Scotland’s response to the situation. It was good that the Forum was represented to offer politicians from all parties their valuable advice and experience.
Fife Migrants Forum was formed in 2010 and is not-for- profit organisation that is run by a committee. It provides free help, advice, support, information and referrals for anyone who comes for an appointment.
Initially set up to look after the interests of a small migrant community, Fife Migrants Forum has expanded and opened up its doors to assist all in need of guidance and advice. The Forum runs a volunteer programme and values the various contributions that volunteers bring with them.
Fife has been so generous in supporting charities who are giving aid to the affected areas. I have also been contacted by constituents offering to help refugees who arrive in Fife and volunteering with Fife Migrants Forum is a good way to make a positive contribution.
Fife Migrants Forum has almost 60 volunteers from over 30 different countries speaking 33 different languages, some of these volunteers are refugees who lived in areas of conflict.