Half of all Syrian refugees officially housed in the UK have been placed in the Northern city of Bradford, it was revealed today. Bradford is already one of the most
diverse segregated cities in Britain. It has the fourth highest percentage of Muslims of any area in the UK, making up a quarter of the population.
Around 5,000 Syrians have claimed asylum in Britain since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, however, of those brought in by the government’s Vulnerable Person’s Relocation Scheme (VPRS), 106 of the 216 have been housed in Bradford.
The VPRS Scheme was announced in March last year, and the Horton Housing Association based in the Little Horton area of Bradford was the first organisation in the country to sign up.
They have housed 52 Syrian adults and 54 children who have come from Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. The association’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Gartland, confirmed the figures to The Telegraph and Argus.
Mr Gartland said: “Our clients have settled into the city well and we wholeheartedly support the extension of the VPRS scheme to help more people who have escaped unimaginable horrors in their own country.”
His association is working with Bradford Council, private landlords, schools, the Job Centre, an in house training center and other training providers to assist the migrants when they arrive in the City, explained Gartland.
“The support we offer includes providing suitable accommodation, access to education and health services, support with language skills and cultural orientation, and other housing related support, including counselling, drop-in services and maintaining connections to family and friends,” he said, adding: “We help them to manage financially by offering training, help to access employment opportunities and benefits, where necessary.”
Bradford may have been selected for housing the new arrivals as property prices are comparatively low in the city.
The decision is unlikely to help the process of integration in the city, which was described as “deeply divided” in a report from 2003.
There were 75,188 Muslims living in Bradford in 2001, making up 16.1 per cent of the 467,665 population. By 2011, almost a quarter, 24.7 per cent, of Bradford’s 526,400 population was Muslim.
According to the ‘British Muslims in Numbers’ report from 2011, only one in five Bradford Muslims was in full-time employment, compared with a third of the wider population. Half were born outside the UK, and 73 per cent said their national identity was British.