Cheshire West could house up to six families of Afghan refugees

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UP to six families of Afghan refugees could be housed in Cheshire West as the council awaits further details on the Government’s wider resettlement strategy.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has proposed to initially resettle the families under the Afghan LES (Locally Employed Staff) Relocation Scheme.

The proposal ensure the first families to be homed in the area can be accommodated and supported, while also being manageable and financially viable for the council.

Councillor Karen Shore, deputy leader of the council, said, “Cheshire West and Chester has been warmly welcoming refugee families for many years.

“The council and our partners have a proven system that has already supported many people, including Syrian refugee families, to integrate successfully into their new lives and make a valuable contribution to our communities.

“The LES funding from Government, which is for 12 months, will cover the costs of providing suitably decorated and furnished accommodation, provided by the council’s housing association partners, as well as support from housing and family support teams and the costs of English language lessons.

“The council and our partners have been overwhelmed with donations and offers of support to refugee families.

“Once again, the people of west Cheshire have shown huge compassion towards those in need.

“When we have more information about what might be needed by other families in forthcoming months we will be able to give a clear message on how people can help.

“We are updating our website and will publish more information on how to help as soon as we have it. ”

Many Afghan locally employed staff are already in the country, staying in hotels procured by the Government.

The arrival and settlement of families into the borough will need to be carefully timed to take into consideration demands upon other services.

The council will work closely with the local Refugee and Asylum Seeker partnership, including the police, housing and health providers and the voluntary and community sector to welcome the new residents.

Internal departments such as Public Health and Regulatory Services will also be important to advise and support regarding Covid-19 testing and vaccinations.