An army of volunteers have been playing a key role in helping refugees settle into their new homes in Wiltshire. The group of 27 refugees, eight families and individuals – arrived in the country and travelled to Wiltshire on 2 December. They were greeted at the airport and accompanied as they made their way to their new homes.
Wiltshire Council has been working with key partners including Wiltshire Police, health colleagues and the Department for Work and Pensions as part of a strong multi-agency approach to ensure the refugees have all they need to settle quickly into their new homes. Charities, faith groups, community groups and volunteers have been a key part of the response providing general support to help the refugees adapt. The groups of families and individuals are based in groups around Wiltshire with each family or person having a volunteer on hand to support them as they become accustomed to the British way of life. Although some can already speak good English, volunteers who can translate have been a key part of the settling in process. A special event was held at the Civic Centre in Trowbridge on Friday 4 December where the refugees were given guidance on accessing support and information on health and schooling.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council, praised the support of Wiltshire communities in welcoming the refugees.
She said: “The refugees who are coming to Wiltshire may have had some very difficult situations in their lives and we hope we can welcome them to a new life in our county, where they can find jobs, become self-sufficient and make Wiltshire their home. I’m proud of the way people across Wiltshire have come together to welcome and support our new residents, and I thank the many volunteers and communities who have played such a key role.”
Sandie Lewis, VCS Co-ordinator for the Wiltshire Refugee Programme Board said: “We’ve had so many offers of help from buying simple things like radios to help the refugees keep up to date with what’s going on in the world to providing translation support. Bringing all this support together means our refugees have the help and support they need as they settle into their new homes.”