How Hartlepool is helping Afghan families rebuild their lives

Hartlepool is set to take in nine households by the start of next year as part of work in line with the national Afghan resettlement programme.

By Nic Marko
Monday, 4th October 2021, 5:10 pm
Soldiers escort refugees on to a waiting plane at Kabul Airport during the recent crisis.
Soldiers escort refugees on to a waiting plane at Kabul Airport during the recent crisis.

Local authority chiefs have provided an update on how Hartlepool Borough Council, like many other areas, has come forward and offered support for Afghan citizens seeking to rebuild their lives in the UK following the Taliban takeover in their homeland.

Many thousands of Afghan families in recent weeks have arrived as part of the Government’s Afghanistan relocation programme.

Denise McGuckin, council managing director, speaking at the latest full council meeting, said there are currently five Afghan households in Hartlepool receiving support from the local authority, with an agreement to take nine up to January 2022.

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Council managing director Denise McGuckin.

She said: “We continue to play a crucial role in welcoming and supporting all newcomers into the UK and we have offered a pledge to take nine households up until January 2022.

“We currently have five Afghan households in Hartlepool who are receiving support from the council, including four families who have a total of nine children, and one single adult household.

“I’m pleased to inform everyone that everyone has settled in well and it’s going extremely positively.”

A report from Mrs McGuckin noted in January 2022 the situation will then be reviewed to see how many they can house thereafter.

This will be based on ongoing council agreement to support the programmes, housing availability and staff resources, with the council also having its usual throughput of other resettled families.

She added while many relocated Afghan families have found homes and a warm welcome from local authorities across the UK, many are in interim hotel accommodation, unable to settle, find jobs and send their children to school.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme is predicted to welcome up to 5,000 people in the first year, and up to a total of 20,000 over the coming years, as part of the global response to the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

The scheme will provide refugees from Afghanistan and those put at risk by recent events in Afghanistan with a route to safety.

It will prioritise vulnerable people and those who have assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights and freedom of speech.