Somerset steps up to support Afghan refugees
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People across Somerset are offering to help support Afghan refugees as the crisis deepens.
Somerset County Council said it is committed to help a scheme to house Afghans who supported the British military and to resettle interpreters and translators.
The authority adds that local residents have ‘done our county proud’ by offering spare rooms, lodgings and entire houses to help out. Charities and voluntary groups have also stepped forward offering children’s toys, clothing and job opportunities.
Somerset County Council leader, councillor David Fothergill, said: “It is heart-warming and a fantastic tribute to our residents and communities.
"As a council, we look forward to receiving our allocation of refugees as they arrive in this country, and I know our local residents will do us proud once again as they did with the Syrian refugees over the past few years.”
The council anticipates government will fund a number of places for refugees through its resettlement programmes. These programmes have strict rules on the types and locations of suitable accommodation.
Cllr Fothergill added: “It has been an amazing response and I want to acknowledge all those who have offered their time, help and even lodgings or spare rooms.
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“Sadly, we are unable to place refugees in temporary accommodation. We have had a number of very generous people offer self-contained flats and houses and that is the type of accommodation that we need.”
The council adds that most resettled Afghans will be housed in town centres, where they can access specific foods, medicines and transport to link with other communities.
People who would like to help in any way in the county are being asked to contact Somerset County Council at firstname.lastname@example.org
The authority can put people in touch with partners and voluntary groups assisting the cause.
The council is also keen to speak to private landlords with self-contained accommodation. If these people can help assist the council, contact email@example.com
For more information about the refugee resettlement in Somerset, log-on to www.somerset.gov.uk/refugee-resettlement