Cheltenham offers more homes to Afghan nationals, who have been working in Afghanistan on behalf of the UK government

Published on 2nd December 2021

Refugee

More homes in Cheltenham will be offered to Afghan nationals as part of the scheme to support locally employed staff who have worked for the British Forces.

This is to enable former staff and their families to resettle in the UK.

Working as a countywide partnership, all seven local authorities in Gloucestershire have agreed an ambition to resettle up to 35 families across the county and Cheltenham Borough Council previously committed to the provision of seven properties within Cheltenham as part of this scheme.

Following positive interest from the private sector in Cheltenham, the council will be able to increase this offer to enable more households who have fled Afghanistan to settle within the borough.

Cllr Mike Collins, cabinet member for housing, said:  “As a ‘Town of Sanctuary’ I’m pleased to say we’ve had many private landlords get in touch to help do all we can in Cheltenham to support people desperately fleeing Afghanistan, looking for a safe haven and a fresh start. At this stage, we are working on exact numbers but we hope that the support will be between 7 to 15 households depending on the ongoing interest from the private rented sector. At present, we anticipate approximately 10 households will be provided accommodation within the borough as part of this initiative.”

The extra properties will help contribute towards achieving the countywide target to support up to/around 35 households across Gloucestershire and supports Cheltenham’s status as a Town of Sanctuary which was adopted in 2019 to reflect Cheltenham’s ambition of being a town that offers a place of safety to people fleeing violence.

Support is being provided to the families from GARAS (Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum seekers) which includes providing advice and assistance covering employment, welfare benefits, housing, health and education to help families settle into their new communities.

The Gloucestershire Housing Partnership continues to appeal to private-sector landlords who have good quality properties to rent to come forward. We are particularly in need of larger properties across the county. Participation in the scheme brings a number of benefits for landlords. If you are interested, please contact the team at Gorib.Hossain@gloucester.gov.uk.


For media enquiries contact communications@cheltenham.gov.uk, telephone 01242 264231.