‘We’re going to do this properly’ - Bute MSP on Syrian arrivals

Pictured at Argyll and Bute Council's media conference on the welcome being prepared for the island's 15 new Syrian familes are Michael Russell MSP, ACHA chief executive Alastair MacGregor, Fyne Homes' chief executive Colin Renfrew, and Argyll and Bute Council's executive director of community services, Cleland Sneddon.
Pictured at Argyll and Bute Council's media conference on the welcome being prepared for the island's 15 new Syrian familes are Michael Russell MSP, ACHA chief executive Alastair MacGregor, Fyne Homes' chief executive Colin Renfrew, and Argyll and Bute Council's executive director of community services, Cleland Sneddon.

Everyone in Argyll and Bute needs to work together to ensure the welcome given to Bute’s newest residents is as warm as possible, according to the area’s MSP.

Michael Russell spoke this week at an event organised to show local and national media the preparations being made to welcome 15 Syrian families to the island over the next few weeks.

Nine of those families will arrive on Bute before Christmas, with the other six to follow early in the new year.

Acknowledging that he did not always see eye-to-eye with the council, Mr Russell said that would not be the case on this issue.

“We are going to work together to do this properly,” he said. “We are absolutely at one in this area, that this is going to be done well and properly and we are all going to be positive and welcoming.

“I think the whole of Argyll and Bute wants this to work well and everybody is going to put their heart and soul into it.

“Rothesay isn’t full up; Argyll and Bute isn’t full up; Scotland isn’t full up. We have a moral imperative to welcome those who are in danger and those who are threatened.”

At the same media event the chief executives of ACHA and Fyne Homes made clear their capacity to accommodate the families - ACHA will provide homes for eight families from its stock of 45 void properties on Bute, while Fyne Homes will accommodate the other seven using some of the 40 empty homes it owns on the island.

* More on this story in the December 4 edition of The Buteman - on sale now.