ST HELENS Council will receive £80,000 over two years to help support refugees and asylum seekers who have resettled in the borough.

The council has been awarded controlling migration grant funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which helps councils mitigate the impacts of recent migration on communities.

St Helens has been allocated £20,000 per annum over two years, with a requirement to 50 per cent match fund with existing funding received from the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

The money will be used to deliver a community grant award scheme, which will invite community organisations to apply for funds.

This will assist not-for-profit organisations to develop and expand services that meet the needs of vulnerable migrant households.

A St Helens Council spokesman said: “This funding has come from central government and will fund projects that aim to help refugees and asylum seekers connect to the communities that they come to live in, over two years.

“We know it is important for everyone to feel supported where they live, no matter where they are from.

“By helping break down barriers such as language skills and encouraging people to come together to look after their health, celebrate the cultures of all – it can help make everyone feel connected to their community.”

In 2015, the UK government agreed to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees as part of a five-year resettlement programme introduced to help people fleeing war and persecution in Syria.

Subsequently, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agreed a sub-regional pledge to initially take in 510 Syrian refugees.

The second phase of the programme in St Helens began in March, with four cohorts expected to arrive between March 2019 to January 2020.

When they arrive in the UK, the refugees will be provided with suitable accommodation for at least 12 months and will be assigned an integration caseworker to support them over a year.

They will also be given access to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses from an accredited provider for up to 12 months and access to translation services.

Government funding is provided to local authorities to cover the costs of resettlement.