Darlington prepares to welcome Afghan families

Darlington prepares to welcome Afghan families
07 September 2021

Darlington is preparing to welcome four families from Afghanistan, after councillors agreed a comprehensive support package.

The support package – which details what will be on offer to those arriving in Darlington, including council housing – was agreed by Cabinet members yesterday (Monday 6 September).

This means that Darlington has now joined over a third of UK councils in announcing their respective support packages.

The council has worked closely with central government and the North East Migration Partnership over the last few weeks, to ensure that what we have put in place is suitable and in line with our regional partners.

Late last week, Councillor Kevin Nicholson, cabinet member for Health & Housing, met with Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and Home Office minister Victoria Atkins, to finalise the support package.

People arriving in the country from Afghanistan will need to quarantine for the appropriate period of time, after which they will be able to access support. It is expected that the families will arrive in Darlington by the end of this month.

Councillor Nicholson said: “We have always been very clear that Darlington will play its part in supporting the resettlement of people affected by the situation in Afghanistan, and I’m proud that we’re now delivering on that pledge.

“I look forward to welcoming those people from Afghanistan who will rebuild their lives in Darlington, and trust they will find this a warm, friendly and supportive community.

“I spoke via video link with an Army officer whose unit has supported the evacuation of refugees, and it was an honour to speak with those directly involved in this important humanitarian mission.”

The Government will shortly launch an online portal to allow people to submit offers of support for people arriving from Afghanistan. The portal will allow people to submit offers of housing and work is now under way to expand this to further offers, such as job opportunities, professional skills training, or donations of clothes and toys.

“We have always been very clear that Darlington will play its part in supporting the resettlement of people affected by the situation in Afghanistan, and I’m proud that we’re now delivering on that pledge. I look forward to welcoming to those people from Afghanistan who will rebuild their lives in Darlington, and trust they will find this a warm, friendly and supportive community.”

- Councillor Kevin Nicholson, cabinet member for Health & Housing

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