A celebration day was held this week to welcome the Syrian refugee families relocated in Warwickshire and to thank the volunteers and organisations involved in their resettlement.
The event, which was held at Old Shire Hall in Warwick on Wednesday, saw representatives from 24 refugee families attend as well as a number of organisations involved in the Syrian resettlement programme.
The first group of refugees arrived in Warwickshire in November 2016 and have been arriving quarterly since then.
Five families, made up of 13 adults and nine children, have been relocated to the Leamington/Warwick area.
Rugby, Stratford and Nuneaton also have five families in each area.
During the celebration day people heard from volunteer groups and organisations involved in supporting and helping the families and also heard some of the stories from the families.
Rima Ayoubi, her brother Nor Eddin Ayoubi and their family were relocated to Leamington in March 2017.
Rima said: “Here, when you go outside, you see people and they smile. They ask if you are having a good day and we never feel discriminated.
“People are even learning sign language to communicate with my mum because she is deaf.
“We live near a Methodist church and they come and knock on the door, invite us to events and parties and at Christmas we were singing with them.
“We have a Welcome Here group who are really helpful.
“The only problem in Leamington is that I can’t get enough English lessons here as it just gives two hours a week when I get nine hours a week in Coventry.
“Leamington is fancy, quiet and clean and it’s royal! I feel like living here forever.”
Nor said: “I just want to say thank you for everything, thank you for the support and thank you for the help. I feel like I am in my country with my family.”
More Syrian refugee families are set to arrive in the county quarterly. The new families arriving are due to be settled in Stratford and Rugby.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “We wanted to welcome all the families together that have settled in Warwickshire and it was also an opportunity to thank so many people who have helped this process.
“We have 24 families and we have more to come, which will take us up to 31 families.
“The fact that the whole county has come together to provide a safe place for these Syrian families to begin to heal and rebuild lives shattered by conflict is a testament to what a fantastic place Warwickshire is to live.
“I am immensely proud that Warwickshire County Council and all our partners have pulled together to provide a comprehensive package of support to these families and that local communities have gone above and beyond to make our newest residents so welcome.
“These families have been given the opportunity to begin their healing in a county that has always celebrated and welcomed diversity; a county that has always offered help to its most vulnerable residents; and a county that has a deep and enduring sense of civic-mindedness at its very heart.”