Wiltshire Council is working with Afghan families currently staying in a hotel in the county to provide support while they are based in Wiltshire.
This month a number of adults and children from Afghanistan were brought to the hotel, which will act as a bridge until they are provided new homes in the UK.
It is not known how long families will reside at the hotel as this is dependent on longer-term accommodation being identified for them. Families could move anywhere in the country and may not settle in Wiltshire. As people move on, more Afghan people could arrive at the hotel. The location of the hotel and numbers of Afghan citizens based there is not being shared.
Those living at the hotel are provided with three meals a day, snacks, a laundry service and transport.
The Home Office is unable to provide day to day support, therefore Wiltshire Council has agreed to provide wraparound support for now and funding will be provided for this from the Home Office. We have visited and are co-ordinating support going forward.
Meanwhile, all Afghan hotel residents are being registered with a GP and prior to moving into this hotel everyone had quarantined following arrival. The CCG is co-ordinating Covid-19 vaccinations, alongside other immunisations and screening. Mental health support is also being developed.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Military Civilian Integration, said: “We are providing support and are currently exploring childcare and education opportunities for the children and any other support that is required. We are working to provide accommodation and support for at least 20 more families under the Afghan resettlement scheme but we await further information from the Home Office to best asses how we can help.”
Private landlords who have affordable properties ready to let are being encouraged to send in details by completing a survey detailing types of property available https://surveys.wiltshire.gov.uk/snapwebhost/s.asp?k=163051361750 or by using the government portal for housing offers. The council will then keep these details and be in touch if they are needed. Some people have kindly offered a room in their own homes, but the government has said that shared houses and general lodgings are not suitable for the main Afghan support scheme. However, the council is encouraging people making such generous offers to consider signing up with the council’s fostering or supported lodgings teams. The council is actively looking for accommodation including approaching the MOD to see if they will make their empty homes available.
Meanwhile people have also been generously offering support and donations. Wiltshire Council is asking people to hold onto these goods for the moment and will say where and when they can be delivered. The government has also set up a national link for those wanting to offer help in this way. Offers of support can also be emailed to email@example.com.