Refugees ‘getting settled’ in Kent

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Syrian refugees fleeing the war-torn nation said they have felt welcomed by the people of Kent according to the Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark. Mr Clark, acting in his capacity as Communities Secretary, was one of the cabinet members who met Syrian refugees in the county last week, ahead of their first Christmas in the UK.

The exact location of the meeting has not been disclosed due to the sensitivity of the situation, but it was disclosed earlier this month that Tunbridge Wells will accept ten families over the next five years.

The refugees have been arriving in the UK over the last three months as part of a carefully co-ordinated approach working with local authorities.

So far 1,000 refuges have been given a new life in the country.

Speaking at the meeting, which was also attended by Richard Harrington, minister for Syrian Refugees, Mr Clark said: “The families I have met in Kent have said they feel welcomed and are getting settled into life ahead of the holiday period.

“The Government has provided funding so these vulnerable refugees can get the housing, healthcare, education and support they need.”

Mr Clark paid tribute to the efforts of the local governments across the country, adding:

“I would like to thank colleagues in Local Government and their partners who have helped resettle 1,000 Syrian refugees in the UK in time for Christmas.

“On behalf of the British people I wish all Syrian refugees a happy Christmas and a big welcome to the UK.”

But the leader of the Tunbridge Wells Labour Party, councillor Alain Lewis, has criticised the number of refugees which are due to be resettled in the town, describing the situation as ‘ludicrous.’

Mr Lewis said: “The Syrian refugee crisis is a humanitarian disaster and huge numbers of families and individuals have fled their homes in search of safety.

“So it seems ludicrous that Tunbridge Wells can only offer 10 families homes in the next five years.

“Many of the refugees are intelligent, qualified and skilled workers who should be welcomed in
any town.”

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