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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Kirklees Council welcomes refugees from Afghanistan but with no definitive numbers yet

Kirklees welcomes refugees from Afghanistan but no plans have been finalised yet.

Kirklees is ready to be a “place of welcome” to people fleeing Afghanistan, says council leader Shabir Pandor.

The council is going to weclome refugees from Afghanistan through the ongoing Afghan Relocation Scheme and through the recently announced Afghan Resettlement Programme.

The Afghan Relocation Scheme is a national project that Kirklees Council has signed up to. The scheme will move people out of Afghanistan who worked alongside the armed forces whose lives are seen to be at serious risk.

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council.

The other way the council is prepared to help Afghan refugees is through The Afghan Resettlement Programme which was announced by the Government last week. The plan is to bring in 20,000 people to the UK in response to the current situation but the details of this are not yet confirmed.

In Manchester, more than 1,000 people fleeing Afghanistan have been accommodated in hotels across the city as the government scrambles to evacuate people from the crisis-torn country.

For several weeks before the Taliban seized total control of the country this weekend, the town hall had already been working with the Home Office and Foreign Office to place people fleeing to safety in initial quarantine.

It is understood that at present, capacity in the three hotels being used in Manchester is therefore full and the government is seeking to place people in other parts of the country. The hotels being used are not being disclosed by either the council or the Home Office.

Cllr Pandor said: “Kirklees is a place of welcome and we are ready to support any humanitarian response to the situation in Afghanistan.

“Many of the people arriving in the UK have worked with British forces over the past few years and it’s right that we can offer them a place of safety until they find something more permanent.

“This will involve working closely with the Home Office and other key partners so Kirklees can help to house and support those whose lives are in danger and at risk.

“We are working through with our partners how we do this, with safe accommodation and the right health, social and wellbeing support being of paramount importance in our planning.

“It’s very likely that Kirklees will also be housing people arriving from Afghanistan under the Afghan Resettlement Programme, likely within hotels, but it has not been confirmed yet how many people or where they will be staying.

“We’re continuing to work closely with the Home Office and Migration Yorkshire and when we have details confirmed we will share them with you.

“In preparation, our council teams and partners are working to pull together a Local Integration offer that can be stepped up if needed. This builds on the great partnership work already in place across Kirklees.

“Kirklees has a really proud record when it comes to supporting others and we’re once again ready to support people who desperately need our help.

“However, I am also urging the Government to make sure all local authorities are available and asked to support the Afghan refugees and that councils across the country are given the resources they need to provide safety and support.”

Help Kirklees Council will offer those who come to Kirklees

  • Council staff from Housing Solutions and in the International New Arrivals team will meet and support the family intensively from arrival and support with all immediate needs including; health, understanding life in the UK and Kirklees and children starting school;
  • Sanctuary Clothing Project providing clothes, footwear if needed;
  • Partnership Welcome Sessions at community venues;
  • Welcome Mentors – volunteers who speak a range of community languages and know exactly what it is like to be a new arrival into Kirklees and provide befriending and buddying support;
  • English language support by the This Way for English Programme;
  • Sports and physical activities will be on offer;
  • Local groups and organisations offering to be a place of welcome.

 How you can help 

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