An urgent bid has been made for nearly £1.3 million in EU funding to to open a refugee and migrant immigration centre in Hammersmith.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has put in a request for a slice of the £40m EU Asylum and Integration Fund pot.

The council wants to open a Refugee and Migrant Integration Hub in the west London borough, which has resettled families from Syria and Sudan in recent years.

Council documents say the centre would help refugees and migrants to "speedily acquire skills needed to successfully integrate into British society and communities and reduce isolation and alienation".

The council expects to hear back soon on whether it’s bid for £1,263,071 in EU funding has been accepted, a spokeswoman said.

The application required the council to match 25% of funding, meaning the council would need to invest £315, 768 from its own budget, over two years - an amount which the council leader has approved.

The council anticipated that there will be a continued increase of refugees in the borough, due to the Home Office's resettlement programme.

Council documents filed with the agenda ahead of Wednesday's (May 23) first full council meeting since the local elections say the application was made under urgency due to a short window for bids between April 11 and May 9.

The council's leader Stephen Cowan had in the past called on the Government to support local authorities in offering shelter and support to refugees to help them settle into British life.

In 2015, amid Europe's refugee crisis, he said many refugees had made valuable contributions to British society, but finding homes for them was difficult amid a "housing crisis".

The following year, the council worked pro bono in coalition with Citizens UK programme Safe Passage, sending its social workers to the Calais "Jungle" refugee camp.

The volunteers worked to assess unaccompanied refugee children languishing there, to help begin their process for moving to the UK.

Hammersmith & Fulham councillor Stephen Cowan meeting child refugees stranded in the Calais "Jungle" in 2016, when the council sent volunteers over to assess the young unaccompanied refugees for migration
Hammersmith & Fulham councillor Stephen Cowan meeting child refugees stranded in the Calais "Jungle" in 2016, when the council sent volunteers over to assess the young unaccompanied refugees for migration

Since then, the council has participated in Home Office programmes to resettle six families of refugees from conflict zones including Syria and Sudan in the borough.

The proposal is for a one-stop migrant integration centre to help the new arrivals navigate the services and advice they need to set up their lives in London.

Project aims to 'transform' lives of refugees by helping them into employment

That would include access to help with housing, benefits, jobs, healthcare, parenting and trauma counselling.

The property to house the hub had been identified, but was not revealed in the report.