Exmouth welcomes Afghan refugees in plans to help families resettle in UK

Up to 15 Afghan families are to be temporarily housed in an Exmouth hotel as part of the Government’s refugee resettlement programme.

They will move into the ‘bridging accommodation’ in the town in the next week as part of a Home Office initiative.

It is being used by the Home Office until long-term places to live are found across the country.

Councils across the UK have also been asked to help find suitable long-term places to live.

In Devon, local appeals to private sector landlords have resulted in ‘some potential homes being found’.

The refugees, who worked with and for the UK forces in Afghanistan, are understood to have been flown in from Kabul in the final days before air travel was stopped by the Taliban.

They have since been living in quarantine hotels in London.

District councils in Devon responsible for housing are trying to identify more long-term accommodation – specifically from private sector landlords – so there is no impact on local waiting lists.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council (DCC) cabinet member with responsibility for communities, said: “All local authorities have been asked to help support with Afghan refugees who worked with and for our UK forces in Afghanistan and who were forced to leave their country as a result of the collapse of the country following withdrawal of US and UK forces.

“We have received notification from the Home Office that a group of these refugees will be placed temporarily in Exmouth as part of the Government’s national Afghan resettlement programme, pending their onward journey to long-term accommodation, which could be anywhere in the country.

“We are working closely with our district and town council partners, NHS Devon, and local community and voluntary groups to make sure we are ready to welcome them.”

Exmouth Town Council chairman Cllr Steve Gazzard said: “Local authorities across the country are being asked to step up and support this national effort to provide temporary accommodation as part of the re-settlement programme for Afghan families.

“Exmouth is a town with strong military connections and many of the refugees will have been working for our military services.

“Exmouth Town Council will do all it can to provide a safe environment for them to start the process of coming to terms with what has happened to them.”

East Devon District Council leader Cllr Paul Arnott added: “We will be offering as much support as we can to help the families who have lost their homes in such tragic circumstances.

“We would like to thank the Exmouth and wider East Devon communities, in advance, for their understanding, support and compassion for the men, women and children who have been offered sanctuary after living through some truly harrowing experiences.”

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