Council agrees to give a home to more refugees

A welcome event was held in August for those arriving in Motherwell and Bellshill from Syria

A welcome event was held in August for those arriving in Motherwell and Bellshill from Syria

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North Lanarkshire Council has agreed to increase the number of Syrian refugees it will take.

The council had previously announced it would resettle 120 people from the war-torn country, with 79 arriving so far.

However, yesterday (Thursday) the policy and resources committee voted to welcome a total of 180 to the area.

The council’s programme has been so successful that it won a major national award, scooping the Chartered Institute of Housing’s team of the year prize.

Airdrie, Coatbridge, Motherwell and Bellshill have all been the focus of resettlement efforts so far, with the council’s member officer working group agreeing that Wishaw and Cumbernauld will be next on the programme.

The committee heard that the Syrian refugees have settled well into their homes, with all children being welcomed into their new schools and the adults all attending English classes.

Councillor Pat O’Rourke, chairman of the member officer group, said: “The people of North Lanarkshire have been amazing in their welcome to the new arrivals from Syria.

“But anyone can see from the television news every night that the humanitarian crisis in Syria is, if anything, getting worse. The pain and suffering of these families has been unimaginable. We have proved that we are able to deliver a really substantial response in North Lanarkshire and we are ready to provide more help.

“It’s truly inspiring to see smiles on the faces of people who have been through the most horrendous experiences, and many of our new arrivals are already involved in local groups and are determined to play a big part in their communities.”