Helping to say 'Welcome to our Town'
Moved by recent, devastating events in Afghanistan and determined to take action, local Holywood residents have come together to form the Holywood Resettlement Group set up to welcome an Afghan refugee family to our town.
We are delighted to announce that we will be welcoming an Afghan family with small children to resettle in Holywood, arriving in the next few months. We hope all of Holywood will join with us in making them feel very welcome in our town.
The last year and more have been busy for the group:
We organised a number of fundraising events, including the “Holywood to Kabul” 3739 mile sponsored walk Holywood to Kabul. We had a fantastic response and, across all fundraising, we have more than met our target of £9000.
We were generously offered a house to rent (for two years) by a resident of Holywood, which we have furnished and equipped ready for the family’s arrival.
We have successfully gone through the processes required by the Home Office and Executive Office, and been fully approved to welcome a family via the Community Sponsorship scheme. The Home Office, in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, have identified the family who will be coming to Holywood. The family will be coming via ACRS Pathway 2 (Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, pathway 2 for refugees currently in neighbouring countries waiting for resettlement). They will have a safe route of entry to UK, and full refugee status when they arrive, including entitlement to healthcare, benefits, and right to work.
We have an active group of members, each taking responsibility for different parts of this process – finding school places, finding English lessons, furnishing the house, medical aspects, financial aspects, language interpreters, and much more. We have received training from RESET, the charity which trains community sponsorship volunteers. We have been on a learning curve together, and are looking forward to meeting the family!
A very big thank you to the many people in Holywood and elsewhere who have helped us with their donations, sharing information and advice, and showing faith in us.