First Afghan refugee families arrive in East Lancashire
The first families fleeing Afghanistan have arrived in East Lancashire.
They are being accommodated temporarily in the Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Clayton-le-Moors. Its owners Mercure have signed a contract with Home Office to look after those forced to leave the war-torn country after the Taliban seized control of its capital Kabul last month.
Burnley, Ribble Valley, Pendle and Rossendale have all indicated they are ready to take families fleeing the Taliban regime,
Around 120 Afghans are staying at the Dunkenhalgh while permanent accommodation is found for them across Lancashire and elsewhere.
A spokesperson from Hyndburn Borough Council said: “We can confirm temporary accommodation for Afghan households has been secured by the UK government in Hyndburn until permanent residence is found across the country.
“In Hyndburn we are proud of businesses helping to accelerate the government’s resettlement scheme. Lancashire County Council and the UK Government will be supporting families during this incredibly difficult time and we will work with our partners to help in any way we can.
“People and families in Afghanistan have assisted our British armed forces over the years and are warmly welcomed to our borough.
“In Hyndburn we have a strong history of supporting people in their time of need, we are sure our community will show its strength during this humanitarian crisis.”
A Lancashire County Council spokesperson said: “Lancashire is welcoming a number of families into the county as part of the UK Government’s Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme.
“The scheme protects the human rights of Afghan people, including their families, who were employed by the British army to support UK troops in Afghanistan by finding them homes in the UK.
“As part of this humanitarian effort, Lancashire County Council is coordinating the arrival of a number of families. This joint operation is being done in partnership with all Lancashire councils which have pledged to take in families fleeing Afghanistan.
“All of the families will receive financial support from the Home Office, which is coordinating the national effort, while they integrate over the next 12 months. The Afghan LES Housing Costs Fund will provide a top up to help councils meet the costs of renting properties, including larger homes for families.
“Some families may be placed in temporary accommodation while Lancashire County Council and local authorities work to find them new homes.
“The families will likely be anxious about starting a new life but we fully expect the people of Lancashire will offer them the warmest of welcomes.”