Kirklees prepares to welcome Afghan refugees

Councillor Carole Pattison

Refugees from Afghanistan who are seeking safety will be welcomed to the borough with help from ourselves and our partners.

Today’s endorsement from cabinet means that we will commit to welcoming Afghan refugees over the next 12 months as part of the Home Office’s Afghan Relocation Programmes – Afghan Relocation Assistance Programme (ARAP) and Afghan Citizens Relocation Scheme (ACRS).

Cabinet have endorsed the Home Office’s funding proposal which will provide financial support to help deliver on the relocation programmes.

The UK and Kirklees are set to welcome Afghans who have stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights and freedom of speech, as well as those who have worked alongside the armed forces in Afghanistan.

Councillor 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 will 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.

 

“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.”

The number of refugees which a local authority welcomes is decided as part of the ‘fair share’ principle from the Home Office.

Kirklees has accepted two families as part of the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP), 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.