Council set to welcome Afghan refugees.

Bath Guildhall

The first families who have had to flee Afghanistan are expected to arrive soon in Bath and North East Somerset after a fantastic community response for suitable properties.

They will be offered accommodation in Bath and North East Somerset through the Government’s refugee resettlement scheme.

Thanks to an excellent community response to a request for suitable rental properties, Bath & North East Somerset Council has secured several affordable, sustainable homes and is offering these to the Home Office for Afghan families in the first wave of resettlement.

The Home Office is in the process of matching families to the properties and the first families are expected to arrive soon. 

The families are arriving under the Afghan Locally Employed Scheme (ALES) which offers refuge for those who had to flee Afghanistan because they had been working with the security forces.

The work is being led and co-ordinated by Bath & North East Somerset Council, supported by Bath Welcomes Refugees and Julian House.

Councillor Kevin Guy, Council Leader, said: “Since we made a request for residents to come forward with offers of rented accommodation for those families in urgent need, the response from the local community has been incredible.  Everyone has been so moved by the appalling scenes we have all witnessed on the news.

“Many residents have offered us spare rooms in their houses, and lots of people have also offered their self-contained rental properties and annexes to us. Unfortunately we have not been able to accept these because the Home Office is clear that they are only able to place families in self-contained accommodation with private facilities. However, we have referred people on to Room for Refugees and Refugees at Home who are able to accept these kinds of generous offers. Thank you very much to everyone who has offered their support.”

Some of the properties the council has secured are furnished and ready to let but some need furnishing. Residents have offered furniture and Bath Welcomes Refugees and Julian House have offered their support as well.  

Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, said: “We are beyond fortunate to have such a warm and welcoming community in Bath and North East Somerset who have made so many kind offers over the past few weeks. We hope to continue to resettle more families under the ALES scheme and the Afghan Citizen’s Resettlement Scheme, so we would still like to hear from anyone who has self-contained accommodation for rent.

“Thanks also to everyone who has offered to donate furniture and other items. We may make requests again soon for specific items that we still need.”

If you can offer self-contained accommodation with a private entrance and its own bathroom and kitchen facilities, that is available for at least a year, at the Local Housing Allowance level, please email Equality@bathnes.gov.uk.