No date yet for refugees arrival

Rona Mackay
Rona Mackay

A welcoming group is being arranged for the refugees being resettled in East Dunbartonshire – but it’s still not known when they will arrive.

East Dunbartonshire Council would only say this week that there would be “a further update” at a meeting of the council in January.

No date for refugees arrival

No date for refugees arrival

Twechar Health and Living Enterprise Centre (THLEC), along with Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay, are arranging a community team to help integrate and welcome the refugees.

East Dunbartonshire Council gave the rubber-stamp recently to resettle four Syrian families and four children from the now defunct migrant camp “The Jungle”, in Calais.

Ms Mackay has welcomed the move but has insisted the council must speed up plans for the intake, and that the 
region is well equipped to welcome more.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP said: “I am proud to be part of welcoming people from miserable, war-torn existence into East Dunbartonshire.

“The conditions and experiences these children and families have gone through can only be described as a nightmare.

“I hope East Dunbartonshire Council will get a move on with these plans because time is of the essence when it comes to helping these very vulnerable people.”

Sandra Sutton, community secretary of THLEC, added: “The welcoming group will be a community effort to make sure the refugees settle in well.

“I have helped with refugees in many places in Scotland – to get them jobs, language skills, integrated and active in the community.

“At Twechar Health and Living Enterprise Centre, we’re hoping to do the same with those coming here.”

Council Leader Rhondda Geekie said: “We have committed to welcoming families and unaccompanied children to East Dunbartonshire.

“We are progressing this through the Home Office Syrian Resettlement Programme, and it is this scheme which will identify the people who will be settled here.

“We will co-ordinate a full support package to meet their needs. We will help them build their new lives after the difficulties and challenges they have faced.

“Negotiations are being co-ordinated with colleagues in Cosla, and there will be a further update at our council meeting next month.”