Four Scottish councils to host Syrian refugee language schemes

Refugees at educational project
Image caption Refugees who settle in Scotland are already given help to learn English

An English language project for Syrian refugees living in Scotland is to be piloted by four local authorities.

Organisers say the scheme will see them join local people to practice their English, share cultures and get involved with community activities.

Scotland has become home to 1,000 Syrian refugees since a summit was held last year aimed at helping to address the international crisis.

It has not yet been decided which councils will host the pilots.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said the project, which has been given £85,000 of funding, would build on the English language training all Syrian refugees have received.

She said: "We have been inundated with offers of support from the public since we launched our Scotland Welcomes Refugees website last year and I am pleased that we can take advantage of these kind offers and get people volunteering locally.

"Many of the refugees owned their own businesses or were teachers before war and terrorism forced them to flee Syria.

"I hope this project will also allow them to share their skills and talents to help strengthen and diversify our communities."

At last September's summit, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that Scotland should accept 1,000 refugees "as a starting point for a meaningful discussion".

The UK government has agreed to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees through its vulnerable persons resettlement (VPR) scheme over the next five years.

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