Question from: County Councillor Matthew Dorrance Subject: Help and support to Afghan refugees
I was pleased to read that the Council has agreed to help and support Afghan refugees. While the commitment to resettle three families is welcome I think we can and should do more to help.
Therefore, can the Cabinet:
1. Advise how it decided it could only support three families fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan;
2. Commit to working in partnership with other Councils in Wales, the Welsh Government and the UK Government to support Afghan refugees;
3. Commit to working in partnership with local organisations such as the NHS, schools and third sector organisations to support Afghan refugees; and
4. Work with local Councillors to help identify how communities in Powys can help?
Response by the Portfolio Holder:
Thank you for your question. Powys County Council has pledged to provide homes for six families as part of the national Afghan Relocations and Assistance Programme (ARAP). After discussions with housing associations the council has been able to increase the previous offer.
The variety and complexity of the needs of the Afghan families, coupled with the rural nature of Powys, provides the Council with a number of challenges in scaling up provision. We need to ensure that both housing and support needs are fully met so that these families can settle quickly and thrive within their new communities when they move to Powys. In order to meet these challenges, services are able to draw on experience from the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Project, where the council works in partnership to ensure that wrap around accessible support is readily available.
Families recently displaced from Afghanistan are part of a wider and growing need from refugee and asylum seeking households. To this end, Powys County Council is also working in partnership with the Welsh Refugee Council and Clearsprings, the organisation tasked with finding homes for asylum seekers and secure suitable accommodation within the private rented sector.
The response from Powys communities has been tremendous with many offers of help. At this time, we are advising that people make contact with dedicated charities who take donations for those arriving in this country.
The following charities help those still in Afghanistan.
As we welcome the first of the Afghan families into Powys over the coming weeks, we can assess the individual needs of the families and advise on the most appropriate way for Councillors and communities to help and support.