Refugee resettlement taking shape
LOCHABER services are gearing up to give a warm welcome to four Syrian refugee families arriving in Kinlochleven in early spring, writes Ellie Forbes.
A second information evening was held in Kinlochleven High School on Monday with representatives from various bodies providing further information about the resettlement programme.
The recruiting process for three positions at the Kinlochleven campus is under way. Two pupil support assistants will be appointed, as well as an additional language teacher.
Heather Thomson, head teacher at Kinlochleven Primary School, said: ‘The school is well-placed to give a warm welcome to the children.’
She added that visits to the primary school in Alness, where four Syrian refugee families have been resettled, had taken place to see how they have successfully integrated the children.
Flora McKee, from Voluntary Action Lochaber (VAL) reported 13 people had come forward to help welcome the refugees but more were still needed for about two to three hours work a week.
Discussing housing, Sandra MacLennan, said four properties were being prepared. She said: ‘We have a very experienced Lochaber housing team, but we are learning. We need to learn how to deal with people who have fled persecution and war, and we really need the community to help us.’
Manager of adult learning at High Life Highland (HLH), Mike Jones, encour- aged a simple smile to help welcome the refugees. HLH, which will be helping the Syrians learn English, said learning the language would be key.
PC Katy Duncan will be a point of contact between the families and the police. She said the emergency services hope to hold a treble nine event where fire, police and ambulance services would get together to offer the families ‘guidance and support’ for which service they will require in an emergency, how they do this and, depending on the situation, when to call 999 or 101.
Councillor Thomas MacLennan, who chaired the meeting, said: ‘I think the overwhelming majority of people are in favour of the refugees coming to Kinlochleven and wish them well.’