Fenland to house two Afghans who worked for British armed forces
- Credit: FDC/Pa Media
Up to two Afghans who worked for the British armed forces in Afghanistan will be rehoused by Fenland District Council – probably in Whittlesey.
The decision was announced by Cllr Sam Clark, portfolio holder for health, who said they have asked Peterborough City Council (PCC) to arrange it.
“The council already commissions PCC to undertake a Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme,” she said.
“They have the networks ready to support the Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) scheme”.
Cllr Clark said Whittlesey was chosen because of its proximity to Peterborough where there were “relevant support networks.
“There is funding to support the scheme for the first year which will have no impact on FDC budget.”
Cllr Clark explained that the perceived difference between this and the Syrian scheme is the level of need those incoming personnel will have.
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“It is assumed that the Afghans’ will have high levels of spoken and written English and hopefully, won't have the same mental/physical health needs as the Syrian refugees,” she said.
“The mindset for such differences is that the households will have less issues to overcome to be able to integrate into life within the UK.”
Two years ago, Whittlesey Town Council agreed to provide two flats to help rehouse Syrian refugee families.
These were the vacant flats above the new town council offices which were acquired as part of the purchase of the former police station.
The town council was offered a guaranteed rental income of £71,500 over five years to house the Syrian refugees.
Cllr Clark said Fenland’s response to Afghanistan followed a government request to accelerate a scheme that had been running since 2013.
"For example, many of those who are eligible under the scheme have worked as military interpreters,” she said.
After a year, Cllr Clark says Fenland Council may have costs to incur if, for example, they became homeless.
Hinting that the council would face that bridge if they ever came to it, Cllr Clark said after a year the Afghans by then living here would be residents like any other household in Fenland.
And it was important to recognise “they worked to support armed forces in the Afghan war and have placed themselves at risk of harm in doing so”.