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13 June 2017

Refugee families making their home in Wiltshire

Refugee families in Wiltshire are finding jobs and gaining independence as they settle into local communities.

Since the first group of families arrived in December 2015, Wiltshire has welcomed a number of individuals and families to settle and make their home in the county.

Wiltshire Council has continued to work 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.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: "Since we welcomed the first families back in December 2015 we have always wanted to ensure they can settle into Wiltshire, become independent and really contribute to their community. I'm so please we have so many great examples of how our hard working families are making a real difference and making their home in Wiltshire."

So far 75 refugees have settled across Wiltshire with some of the first arrivals now ensuring the newer families have everything they need to settle in the county.

Ali moved to Wiltshire in December 2015 with his wife Abeer and young son. He is now working part time in a restaurant but also spends time as a volunteer at Wiltshire College in the IT department as well as helping other Syrian refugee families.

He explained: "When I first arrived it was very difficult for us as we didn't know anyone. But now it's much easier as my language has improved. Being able to drive has also made a huge difference and we can be independent now."

Hussein was a tailor before he moved to England. He is currently carrying out work experience and lives with his wife Nuruz and their 18 month old daughter. They are expecting a baby next month.

He said: "I'm learning to drive here and I'm going to college to learn English. I would like to be a tailor in England."

Former chef and baker Mohammad recently passed a food safety in catering award at The Cathedral School in Salisbury.

He said: ""I am so pleased and proud to receive this qualification which will help me in my future career in the UK. I worked as a chef and baker for many years and I would like to go back to this work as soon as I can. This has given me the confidence I need and it has also made my mother very proud which makes me very happy."

His trainer Kinsley Fewins added: "Mohammad, was a good learner who brought his experience as a chef and contributed to the class discussions which was invaluable to others in the class. I have no hesitation in recommending him to the catering Industry and I am confident he will be successful in whatever tasks he undertakes. He will be an asset to whoever has the privilege of employing him. He was a good student and a great pleasure to teach. I wish him every success."

Other families settling in well include Abdelkarim who works full time as a builder and decorator. He has passed his driving test to secure a full licence and is now looking for a car to buy. He lives with his wife Mariam and son and daughter. In his spare time he supports other Syrian refugees.

Shadi lives with his wife Rasha and three children. He has just passed his driving test. Loay was one of the first refugees to arrive with his family in Wiltshire. He carries out voluntary work for the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service. He is involved in work experience and lives with his wife Salam and two children.

Last updated: 13 June 2017 | Last reviewed: 13 June 2017

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