Town has a role in welcoming refugees
Ruglonians should welcome the Syrian refugees who have arrived in the Burgh.
The was the message from South Lanarkshire Council’s head of housing, Ann Gee, this week.
Nine Syrians have been rehomed in Rutherglen, with the two families arriving last Wednesday.
The issue of taking refugees from camps in the Middle East has proved controversial with some members of the public.
But Ms Gee called on the community to play their part.
She said: “Everyone has an important role to play in welcoming our families and helping them to integrate and our families have received a fine Scottish welcome.
“An extended network of council and health professionals, along with community planning partners, will support the families including the DWP and colleagues in the voluntary sector, community and faith groups.
“The range of support includes everything from housing, education, access to medical, dental and eye care and help to integrate into our communities, including English language training.
“The council has been inundated with offers of help and donations including clothing and household items.
“We have also had offers of practical help including befriending. We are grateful for all these offers which will be accepted in an appropriate way.
“Social landlords operating in South Lanarkshire have expressed their willingness to work with the council to provide homes for families and help them settle into our towns and wider communities.”
Council leader, Eddie McAvoy added: “I call on everyone to give our first two families a warm welcome, and that the same welcome is extended to the 60 or so people who will come to South Lanarkshire in total.
“These people need our help and we are in a fortunate position to be able to extend a hand of friendship to them.”
Both the town’s senior politicians welcomed the move.
In a statement, Margaret Ferrier MP said: “These families are fleeing an utterly horrendous situation.
“To leave your life, your home, your whole world behind, and move to a foreign country must be incredibly intimidating.
“I hope Ruglonians will join me in welcoming these families to Rutherglen, especially at this festive time of the year.
“They are now members of the local community. I understand that some may have concerns, but I ask that they remember these families are escaping the same terror that we are committed to fighting.”
And James Kelly MSP said: “I think South Lanarkshire Council is to be congratulated in taking this forward looking step.
“Syria has been awash with conflict and it’s understandable many people have fled from the country and I can only hope the strong and proud community traditions we have in Rutherglen will help the Syrians rebuild their lives.
“It’s down to local politicians and community leaders to provide leadership and reassurance so we can all come together as a community to support the refugees.”
New life A young Syrian refugee arrives in Scotland, wondering what the future holds
Horror The Syrian families who now live in Rutherglen have come from camps like this