Peterborough City Council offers to resettle Afghan citizens

Both Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County councils- already working to provide Afghan citizens support in the light of the current situation – are now looking to step up their efforts.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 5:08 pm
Ministry of Defence handout photo of British citizens and dual nationals residing in Afghanistan getting on a RAF plane before being relocated to the UK. British troops are racing against the clock to get remaining UK nationals and their local allies out of Afghanistan following the dramatic fall of the country's Western-backed government to the Taliban. Picture: PA Media

In June, all local authorities were contacted by the Government seeking support to resettle Afghan citizens and their families who have been working alongside British armed forces in recognition of the fact that their safety is threatened.

Peterborough has confirmed back to government its intention to resettle families under this scheme and has been working hard to identify suitable housing and to stand up appropriate support arrangements.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been engaging with each of its city and district council partners to offer them support – with education and social care - so they can do the same.

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Further discussions are also taking place about what more can be done in the light of the Government’s announcement today to step up its offer – and offer resettlement to around 20,000 Afghani people.

The scheme offers Afghan citizens an option to resettle in this country with five years ‘Leave to Enter the UK’ status and a pathway to permanent resettlement.

Many of those eligible under the scheme will, for example, have worked as military interpreters.

Peterborough City Council is already running a similar scheme for Syrian refugees having resettled a number of families over the past few years.

“In this scheme, we benefit from some amazing partnerships with organisations that support us and our new residents with, for example, furnishings for their new homes, toys for their children, access to English language courses and volunteering opportunities. I am hoping all these features will be replicated for the Afghan scheme, “said Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of Peterborough City Council.

“The most critical element to the Afghan scheme is that we can identify and offer affordable housing, and the district councils are the local housing authorities.A number of districts have also confirmed their support to resettle Afghan families and we will support them wherever we can - for example, there may be a need for help or advice from social care or education colleagues,” added Cllr Elisa Meschini, deputy leader of Cambridgeshire County Council.

The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban has shocked and saddened many of the British Armed Forces personnel that served in the country.

If this is affecting you, or a loved one, there are a number of Armed Forces specific support organisations that support veterans, reservists or serving personnel that served in Afghanistan and/or other conflicts that can help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or depression.

Many are listed on the Forces Connect App that is a free downloadable app available on IOS and Android devices (search “Forces Connect” in your app store).

Alternatively, you can make contact with the support agencies below if you need to:

Combat Stress

NHS

Veteran’s Gateway

All Call Signs

SSAFA

The Royal British Legion

Mental Health Foundation