Pendle ready to welcome refugees

Pendle Council's Deputy Leader Coun. Tony Greaves and Leader Coun. Mohammed Iqbal  (s)

Pendle Council's Deputy Leader Coun. Tony Greaves and Leader Coun. Mohammed Iqbal (s)

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The first of 10 refugee families to be re-homed in Pendle are expected to arrive in the autumn.

Pendle Council is working alongside other areas of Lancashire to take in 30 Syrian families in the first year of a government scheme to resettle 20,000 refugees nationally by 2020.

It is anticipated Blackpool will also take 10 families while South Ribble and Preston are to take five each.

Leader of Pendle Council Coun. Mohammed Iqbal and Deputy Leader Coun. Tony Greaves announced in September last year a willingness to help re-home up to 20 families from the war torn country.

However, the council is still waiting to find out the make-up of the families that will settle in Pendle.

Coun. Iqbal said: “We were ready last year in response to the Syrian crisis and a working group was set up, formed by various organisations, churches, mosques and the county council came on board.

“We have been waiting for the government to allocate families and when we know whether we have couples, families with children, single refugees, the working group will be quickly reconvened.

“Until that stage it is difficult to plan but the message is clear; we are ready to help those families in a desperate situation.”

Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Councils from across Lancashire have come together to offer support to vulnerable families forced to flee their homes in Syria in what is one of the largest and most serious humanitarian crises facing the world today.

“Lancashire is rightly known as a friendly county and we have a proud tradition of welcoming people from other parts of the world, and from other cultures and religions.

“Together with our partners from other councils, from health services and other organisations, including faith and community groups, we have been working hard to put in place the necessary accommodation and support that these families will need to successfully rebuild their lives in Lancashire.

“We have pledged to help 150 families over the next five years, which seems a proportionate number given our total population of nearly 1.5 million people, and look forward to giving a warm welcome to the first 30 families as they arrive in Lancashire by early autumn.”