Around 79 refugees from Afghanistan are set to start new lives in Kirklees.
Kirklees Council is about to join the Home Office’s Afghan relocation programmes – Afghan Relocation Assistance Programme and Afghan Citizens Relocation Scheme. A proposal will be put to Cabinet on November 16.
The number of refugees which a local authority welcomes is decided as part of the ‘fair share’ principle from the Home Office. For Kirklees that works out at 79, though that number may vary due to family circumstances.
The Government will pay local authorities £20,520 per person for three years to cover health, education and integration support – a total of £1.6 million to Kirklees if 79 people arrive. There is also £2,600 for health and mental health support and each child of school age will have £4,500 of education funding.
So far Kirklees has accepted two families as part of the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy with one of those families having already arrived in Kirklees. This was following an urgent request in August when the military evacuation of Afghanistan took place.
Clr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for learning, aspiration and communities, said: “Kirklees is a place of welcome and we have a very proud history when it comes to supporting individuals and families who are seeking safety.
“As always, we are playing our part in supporting this response and I’m pleased to see other local authorities welcome Afghan refugees who are seeking safety.
“We want to help those who have had their lives uprooted and now face the challenge of adjusting to a completely new life away from their home.
“If endorsed by colleagues, the funding which the Government has proposed will help in ensuring that those arriving can adapt to their new life by having access to healthcare, education and English language classes.
“In preparation for their arrival, we are working with our partners as a priority to ensure we have the correct support in place.
“I’ve been amazed, but not surprised, by the positive response we’ve seen from Kirklees residents. From messages of support to people offering up rooms in their own homes and significant increases in donations to local charities supporting those refugees, it’s been wonderful to see.
“The generosity of the Kirklees people is incredible and on behalf of Kirklees Council, I want to say thank you.”
A report to Cabinet warns about the shortage of suitable available housing, and also the pressure on council staff and contractors if a significant number of refugees arrive for resettlement in the next three months.