Preparations under way to welcome refugees to Wiltshire

Preparations are well under way to welcome refugees to Wiltshire so they can make the county their home for Christmas.

Wiltshire Council is joining with public sector partners and the community to ensure homes, school places and all necessary support are in place for when refugees arrive in the county.

The Refugee Programme Board met for the second time recently with health and police partners joining Wiltshire Council to help discuss next steps for welcoming refugees.

Photo: Swindon-Calais Solidarity
Refugees in Calais – Credit: Swindon-Calais Solidarity

Members of the board have given careful consideration to health, housing and education as preparations take shape.

They are liaising closely with central government advising how many refugees could settle in the county. Some refugees may arrive in Wiltshire before Christmas with others expected in the new year.

Wiltshire Council will be contacting schools to make them aware of the process should there be any requests for places at their schools.

Baroness Scott OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: “Alongside our partners we are preparing the way to welcome refugees to our county so they can permanently settle and make a safe and secure life for themselves in Wiltshire.

“We will work with our key partners to ensure their wellbeing, so that when they come to the county they have the right support to become self-sufficient, find jobs and make Wiltshire their home.

“There is a huge amount of support being offered by communities locally, and currently the best organisations to contact at this time are the international aid organisations such as the Red Cross, Unicef and Oxfam.

“We will also be working with the voluntary and community sector in the county to provide support.”