Warm welcome for refugees

Families settle in to new homes

August 11 2016, Airdrie

Thirty-six Syrian refugees received a warm welcome to their new home from the council and its partners.

The families arrived over the last few weeks as part of the UK Government's Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme, and are living in Motherwell and Bellshill.

At a welcome event, the group were welcomed by Councillor Pat O'Rourke, Chair of the Member Officer Working Group which oversees the programme. They were also joined by the first group of refugees who have settled in Airdrie and Coatbridge since their arrival between November and January.

Local elected members were on hand to meet the families, along with representatives from Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and local volunteers who have offered support to the families.

"The council is very pleased to welcome our second group of refugees to North Lanarkshire, and I know  they will receive all the support they need from our staff, elected members, partners and the local communities of Motherwell and Bellshill," said Councillor O'Rourke.

"Already the families are settling into their homes, and the children are ready to start school in the new term. We understand the anxiety the families must feel arriving in a new country after all they have experienced in Syria and the refugee camps, so we have a full support programme in place to reassure them and help them adjust to a new life."

Members of the first group of refugees who have settled in Airdrie and Coatbridge since the end of 2015 attended the welcome meeting to offer help and share their experiences.

Speaking at the welcome event, Council Depute Leader Councillor Paul Kelly said their integration into the local communities has been very successful: "The 12 families living in Airdrie and Coatbridge are relishing their new lives, thanks to the support from the council and other agencies and, importantly, the friendship offered by local volunteers and community groups.

"The group have made excellent progress with learning English and, indeed the service we have been offering has been recognised by the Home Office as an example of best practice across the UK. The feedback from these families on their move to North Lanarkshire is extremely positive and, with their help, we will use this experience to help the second group of refugees settle in to their new homes." 

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