Leader of Colchester Borough Council calls for Essex-wide talks on refugee crisis

Hungarian soldiers put razor wire on top of a fence on the border with Serbia to tackle the refugee

Hungarian soldiers put razor wire on top of a fence on the border with Serbia to tackle the refugee crisis. Photo: AP Photo/Darko Bandic - Credit: AP

Essex-wide talks should be held on how councils can help with the current refugee crisis, according to the leader of Colchester Borough Council.

Paul Smith said the town had a “long and proud history” of supporting displaced people following political and religious persecutions.

The Dutch Quarter of Colchester is named after a large influx of Protestant weavers from Flanders who emigrated between 1550 and 1600.

Colchester Borough Council has also worked with a community and social projects welcoming refugees to the area, such as Fresh Beginnings which helped former Afghan interpreters seeking refuge following persecution by the Taliban for their support of British forces during the Afghan war.

Mr Smith said: “The current refugee crisis has moved my cabinet colleagues and I to write to other councils in the county urging them to join Colchester in looking at what we can do together.

“It is morally wrong for us not to explore ways in which we can help, whether that is here in the borough, fundraising or relief for the refugees, we have to do something.

“Colchester’s rich cultural heritage has been enhanced by our diverse population throughout our history which is why cabinet has asked me to take a lead on this work and I am seeking action now.”

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