Bute will welcome Syrian families before Christmas

Argyll and Bute's first families of Syrian refugees will be housed on Bute by ACHA and Fyne Homes.
Argyll and Bute's first families of Syrian refugees will be housed on Bute by ACHA and Fyne Homes.

A group of refugee families from war-torn Syria will arrive on Bute before Christmas, the local council has confirmed.

Accommodation will be provided by Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) and Fyne Homes, though the number of families who will be coming to live on Bute has not not yet been released.

Details of the date of their arrival and of exactly where they will live are still being finalised.

Argyll and Bute Council provost Len Scoullar, who lives on Bute, said, “People in Argyll and Bute are known for their warmth and friendliness, as has been proved by the huge offers of support already shown in communities across the area for those seeking refuge from Syria.

“People on Bute have stepped forward to offer skills and services they have to make the families feel welcome and to help them settle in. This will be invaluable for the families who must be feeling incredibly vulnerable and confused.

“Our families – and I already feel comfortable calling them our families - are all currently in the Lebanon and, with the agencies working overseas, we have been very careful to match their experience and skills with those in our own communities. Hopefully this should make it easier for them to find employment.

“We are currently putting in place the arrangements for the support on the island for the first few weeks of arrival and this will include interpreters, health, education and housing services, and we will be taking up the many and very generous offers of support from the community. There is a very detailed project plan that covers these arrangements and makes use of the huge range of support offered by communities.”

The Argyll and Bute Refugee Resettlement Group, made up of council officials and community planning partners working with the Scottish Government, the Home Office and COSLA, is making arrangements for where families will live, and for meeting other basic requirements.

The group is chaired by Cleland Sneddon, the council’s executive director of community services, and the work is being coordinated by business improvement manager Morag Brown.

Since news of the families’ arrival was first confirmed, local people and community organisations across Argyll and Bute have been registering the support and skills they can offer in a newly set up ‘skills bank’ which collects information and contact details.

The skills bank, set up by the Argyll and Bute community planning partnership, will provide a central contact point for anyone wishing to help, and will match the help on offer to the men, women or children who need it.

If you have goods, skills or other practical help you would like to offer families, please visit www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/argyll-and-bute-welcomes-refugees, email morag.brown@argyll-bute.gov.uk or call 01546 604199 for more information.