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

Clr Pandor says Kirklees Council already supports people through the ongoing Afghan Relocation Scheme but is also on standby to help with the Afghan Resettlement Programme announced by the Government last week.

Clr 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 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.

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