Everything in place to welcome refugees

Syrian children living at one of the refugee camps in Lebanon.
Syrian children living at one of the refugee camps in Lebanon.

A group of 36 Syrian refugees will be resettled in the Motherwell and Bellshill area in the coming weeks.

North Lanarkshire is already home to 43 refugees from the Middle Eastern country who arrived in Monklands between November and January.

North Lanarkshire Council say they are settling in very well, attending English classes, getting children into local schools and engaging in community life.

They are also being supported through the development of a befriending network and a newly established community group.

Through the Syrian Resettlement Programme, the UK Government’s response to the refugee crisis, Motherwell and Bellshill were chosen to receive 11 families based on the availability of suitable homes and school places.

Housing is being provided by the council and two housing associations, Cairn and Clyde Valley.

The refugees, some of whom it is said were subject to torture and violence before fleeing their home nation, will be arriving from camps and temporary accommodation in Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.

Costs of the resettlement programme, including education and health services, are being funded by the Home Office.

Motherwell North councillor Pat O’Rourke, chairman of the Member Officer Working Group overseeing the resettlement programme, said: “Syrian refugees are fleeing violence and torture in their own country, some have been displaced many times and have lived in poor conditions for many years.

“I am pleased therefore that our communities in North Lanarkshire are wholeheartedly providing a place of safety, security and opportunity for some of the most vulnerable people in the world.”

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows has written to the council’s leader Jim Logue and chief executive Paul Jukes to provide her support to the refugees.

In her letter Mrs Fellows pledged to provide her services and full support to the new members of the community and North Lanarkshire Council to ensure the refugees’ time in Scotland is “welcoming, positive, but mostly importantly, safe”.

She said: “It is an extremely positive move to bring these people who are fleeing war and persecution to North Lanarkshire.

“I am fully confident that the people of Motherwell and Bellshill, in typical fashion, will welcome them with customary Scottish hospitality into our community.”