Four babies born as Syrian families thrive in Isle of Bute

Four babies have been born to 19 Syrian refugee families who have resettled on the Isle of Bute, with more births due soon.

Four babies have been born to 19 Syrian refugee families who have resettled on the Isle of Bute, with more births due soon. Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The baby boom is revealed in a report due to go before councillors in Argyll on Thursday.

Argyll and Bute Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, with the first families arriving on Bute in December 2015.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

To date, 24 Syrian families have been rehomed on the island, with five families moving to England to be nearer other relatives and one new family due to arrive this month.

The update report, prepared by Morag Brown, the council’s Business Improvement Manager, states: “At October 31, 2017, there are 19 refugee families resettled on Bute under the VPR (Vulnerable Persons Relocation) scheme.

“This equates to 70 individuals in total; 18 men, 19, women, 20 boys and 17 girls and four babies born since arriving in the UK. There are more babies due to be born in the next few months.”

All the children over three years old attend Rothesay Joint Campus and there are now 28 Syrian pupils at the school with six in the pre-5 unit, 13 in the primary and nine in secondary. Rothesay Playgroup has also welcomed nine Syrian children.

Praising the way the newcomers have been welcomed, the report comments: “The involvement of the school has very much been at the heart of the response and the support to the families, reflecting the school’s role in the community and acknowledging that the decisions our families made to come to the UK were to afford their children a safer and better life.”

Learning English is seen to be a vital key to adults getting a job and Ms Brown’s report states: “The value of volunteering as a move into employment continues to be promoted and this year we have had significant uptake in volunteering opportunities by our women, with five now volunteering in the community on a weekly basis.

“The women are volunteering in care and childcare settings where they are developing skills which will lead to employment in the future.

“The women do not appear to have the same barriers with language to volunteering as some of the men do. However, that said, many of the men once again volunteered at this summer’s Butefest and several have volunteered at a local charity.”