By Leah Conway –
If endorsed by the cabinet next week, Kirklees Council and partners will prepare to welcome Afghan refugees over the next 12 months. The process is part of the Home Office’s Afghan Relocation Programmes – Afghan Relocation Assistance Programme (ARAP) and Afghan Citizens Relocation Scheme (ACRS).
The Cabinet endorsement would cover the proposal for Home Office’s funding. The funding would provide a financial boost to help support and relocate refugees.
Kirklees is a district among many in the UK that are set to welcome Afghans to settle relocate, including people who have stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights and freedom of speech.
A place of welcome
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.
“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.”
Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy
With an urgent request in August, Kirklees has already welcomed one family into making Kirklees their new home. This is part of the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
The ARAP is a scheme to relocate Afghans that worked alongside armed forces, including people whose lives are seen to be at serious risk.
The future number of refugees that will settle into Kirklees has not been decided yet, but the Home Office will determine the number that each local authority welcomes under the ‘fair share’ principle. At the moment, national estimates are committed to a minimum of 12,000 and a maximum of 14,000.