Town has a role in wel­com­ing refugees

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

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

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