Calderdale Council pledges to support Afghan refugees

Calderdale will do all it can to offer Afghan refugees a new home, says its council leader.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 3:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 3:04 pm
Council leader Tim Swift

Calderdale Council has pledged to support families fleeing persecution and conflict in response to the devastating situation in Afghanistan.

It says the borough has a long tradition of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers from around the world, and is proud of its kindness, diversity and togetherness.

Calderdale Council, in partnership with Migration Yorkshire, the Home Office and the local voluntary and community sector, is currently supporting two Afghan families in the borough through the already-established ARAP (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy) resettlement and relocation scheme, and is planning to help more.

Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the images of people suffering hardship and persecution in Afghanistan, and we know these feelings are shared across Calderdale’s communities.

“We are determined to do everything we can to offer refugees a new home where they can feel safe; a new life where they can reach their potential.

“Calderdale has a proud history of welcoming and supporting people from all over the world who have faced conflict and devastation. We are a Valley of Sanctuary, with a strong network of organisations working together to create a friendly, inclusive borough for everyone.

“We have already stepped forward to help in the Government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. Kindness is at the heart of our Vision2024 for Calderdale, and we want to do more to help. We are awaiting details of the new settlement scheme and are pledging our support.”

To help refugees start their new life in Calderdale, the council is offering 12 months of support to each family - including help to secure accommodation and advice on how to set up a new home, pay bills, access benefits and gain work or training.

Through the strong Valley of Sanctuary partnership, the council is also working with voluntary organisations to support refugees to adjust to life in the UK, including access to English language classes, cultural activity, community connections and skills development.

Calderdale has been an asylum dispersal area since 2000, and supported 50 Syrian refugees to start new lives in Calderdale as part of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme from 2014 onwards.

Throughout the pandemic, the council has continued to work with the Home Office to ensure asylum seekers and refugees receive a warm welcome to the area.