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17 December 2018

Third anniversary of first refugee families settling in Wiltshire

I'm so pleased we have some great examples of them finding work, settling into the communities and making Wiltshire their home

Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council

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

Wiltshire has welcomed more than 100 individuals and families since the first group of Syrian refugees arrived in December 2015 and 11 babies have now been born in the county.

They were part of the government's Vulnerable Person's Relocation Scheme to help people leave the war-torn country.  Wiltshire Council was one of the first local authorities to welcome the families after the scheme was announced.

The council has worked with partners including Wiltshire Police, health colleagues and the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure the refugees have all they need to settle quickly into their new homes.

Charities, faith groups, community groups and volunteers have been key to the project as they have also provided support to help the refugees adapt.

Many of the refugees are now working in Wiltshire. Some examples include two who are now working for a tailor, another works in a baker and another has qualified as a forklift driver. Another two have started their own food delivery business.

Some of them work as volunteers helping in charity shops, local community groups and build a bike schemes to name a few.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "It's hard to believe three years have passed since we welcomed the first families.

"I said at the time I wanted them to be independent and really contribute to their community. I'm so pleased we have some great examples of them finding work, settling into the communities and making Wiltshire their home."

Some of the families recently met up with Baroness Scott to talk about their time in Wiltshire.

Loubna has moved with her three children aged 8, 7 and 4 to Wiltshire this September. She is learning English fast, her children are settled in local schools and she is hoping to go back to nursing in the future.

She said: "It's all going ok. The children have settled in schools really well and their English is much better than mine. I hope to work in nursing in the future."

Brothers Sad and Abdallah aged 20 and 15 have been in the country with their family for 18 months. Sad is at college studying English and is thinking of the future and working in Wiltshire.

Abdallah is in Year 10 and has hopes of attending university.

He said: "I would love to do science at university because I love the subject. It's very good here and I've made plenty of friends at school."

Last updated: 17 December 2018 | Last reviewed: 17 December 2018

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