Volunteers sought to welcome refugees
VOLUNTARY Action Lochaber (VAL) is recruiting volunteers to support and welcome refugee families and individuals to Lochaber.
Four families from Syria are expected to arrive in Scotland in early spring and be housed in Kinlochleven.
Lochaber residents, parents and community group representatives are being invited to a second community meeting in Kinlochleven, hosted by The Highland Syrian Resettlement Partnership.
The meeting will be held on Monday February 6 at 6.30pm in Kinlochleven High School hall. People attending will meet those involved in the partnership including the Highland Council, Police Scotland, NHS Highland, Voluntary Action Lochaber, Department for Work and Pensions, and High Life Highland.
Volunteers will work with families and individuals for at least a couple of hours once a week for eight to 12 weeks shortly after their arrival. Volunteers will need to commit to a two- day training session on February 24 and 25 and a minimum of one refugee support programme of approximately two hours sessions over eight to 12 weeks from March 2017.
Councillor Thomas MacLennan, who chaired the first public meeting, said: ‘My opinion is that by the end of the last meeting more people were in favour than against them coming. There were a smaller number who reacted negatively, but the more vocal majority were open and welcoming.’
Looking to Monday’s meeting, councillor MacLennan said he hopes the outcome will be positive and that the community will continue to be positive so that ‘these people who have come from goodness knows where will be welcomed and live their lives here in peace’.
Welcoming the Syrians into our communities is also a priority for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes.
She invited experienced Syrian refugee co- ordinator Bruma Kadletz to speak at Holyrood about her first-hand experience of the plight of Syrians fleeing their war-torn country and trying to set up new lives in places like Kinlochleven.
Miss Forbes said: ‘I hope this will give MSPs and staff an insight into the stories behind the photographs.’
To download a volunteer role description and application form, visit valochaber.org or call 01397 706044 to arrange for a form to be posted out.