Ceredigion joins UK commitment to help refugees

CEREDIGION will welcome more victims fleeing war and famine as part of the UK’s renewed commitment to resettling refugees.

In 2015 the County Council pledged to take 50 refugees as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and has nearly reached its target.

The scheme in Ceredigion has proved successful with one Syrian man Mohamad Karkoubi, who lives in Aberystwyth, recently winning an award for his Welsh language skills at the Nation of Sanctuary Awards.

Mr Karkoubi lives with his wife and their three children after fleeing the civil war in their home country, with Ceredigion being one of the first areas in Wales to welcome refugees.

At cabinet on Tuesday (Jul 30), Aberystwyth councillor Ceredig Davies joined council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn in congratulating Mr Karkoubi on his award.

Cllr Davies said he had known the family since they moved to his ward and he had seen them change, particularly the children, from “very concerned and shy at the start.”

“They have benefited greatly from moving to the area, there’s a smile on their faces these days,” he added.

The UK Government has combined three resettlement schemes to create a global initiative, and from January 2020 Ceredigion cabinet agreed it would contribute to the government pledge by receiving ten refugees or two families a year.

This is dependent on the continuation of funding beyond the first year of the scheme which will remain at the current five-year tariff of £20,530 for each refugee, with a top-up for children aged three to 18.

New homes in the private sector will be looked for across the county rather than just Aberystywth and Lampeter with community sponsorship schemes continuing in Cardigan and Aberystwyth.

Croeso Teifi, based in Cardigan and Aberaid, based in Aberystwyth have both resettled two families each, an additional 20 individuals.

A further 43 have started a new life thanks to the council’s scheme with seven more on their way.

The cabinet voted to continue supporting the scheme because “Ceredigion’s current refugee resettlement programme has been successful to date and has enriched the local economy and culture.”

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