Accessibility links

Listen with Browsealoud
Language selection

How the council is supporting and rehoming refugees

Bridgend County Borough has successfully rehomed a number of refugee families from war-torn countries and are now seeking to resettle more.

In 2016, the local authority pledged to support the UK Government’s commitment of resettling 20,000 refugees who had fled as a result of civil war.

Initially taking in six families, Bridgend County Borough Council has successfully resettled eleven Syrian refugee families who are now thriving in their local communities. This was achieved in partnership with Taff Housing who provide the families with support.

Safaa Alawaad is set to celebrate five years in the county borough later this year after relocating from Syria in 2017.

She said: “I have really enjoyed being here in Bridgend. It’s a great place, great people, great everything. On August 1 I will have been here five years.

“Everyone I’ve met here, both people at the council and neighbours have been very helpful and friendly.”

Safaa also told how she has been undertaking classes at college to help her learn English and Welsh as well as volunteering at the British Heart Foundation.

She added: “Welsh is very hard but the college has taught us some small Welsh sentences so I can introduce myself in Welsh.

“When I have finished my English language course, and I am fluent, I want to start a new course for interior design starting with a GCSE and then after that I want to go to university.”

Safaa also has three children aged between 19 and nine who have attended local schools and colleges in the area.

She said: “They are finding school great. All the teachers and staff in the school and college are always helpful and they are always quick to help me.”

Diana Alarnaout and her family also moved to the county borough from Syria and have plans to open up their very own furniture shop in the area.

Diana said: “Bridgend County Borough is a great area to live in. We don’t have any problem here, especially our house as it’s so close to everything – it’s convenient for our college and school.

“All the people we’ve met here have been very nice, all of our neighbours are very kind people. I found all the people I’ve met from the council to be very helpful.”

Diana’s husband Nadal is currently working as a self-employed delivery driver, delivering food to people across Bridgend County Borough for Just Eat and Deliveroo.

She said: “Nadal is enjoying his work as a delivery driver but our plan is to start a business in the future. We want to open a furniture shop, making curtains and furniture. We’re looking now for a shop to start our business.”

The council has also met its 2021 pledge to resettle three families from Afghanistan with the first family arriving in the county borough at the end of November 2021.

UK Government is aiming to resettle around 5,000 Afghan refugees in the first year of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme which was announced last year and up to 20,000 over the coming years.

Bridgend County Borough Council has committed to resettling a further three families under either the UK Resettlement Scheme, the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme or the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.

I was delighted to see the success of our refugee resettlement schemes. They have settled in the county borough and are now leading safe lives and are a part of our communities.

That is as a result of the support that our staff and partners have provided, and the excellent work undertaken by schools.

Janine Nightingale, Corporate Director for Communities

Cabinet have also approved an amendment to the report put before them last week which will see the local authority take part in the Ukrainian resettlement scheme once launched by UK Government.

Everyone at Bridgend County Borough Council has been devasted by the scene unfolding in Ukraine and I know that in Bridgend, we want to create a sanctuary.

The situation is acute and it’s happening now in real time. I am sure we can build on our very good reputation of supporting people in crisis.

We have proven that we can adjust and make room for people who are struggling. I know that we can start mechanisms now so that, when UK Government make good on their remit to allow Ukrainian refugees in, we can support them immediately.

Janine Nightingale, Corporate Director for Communities

A to Z Search