Issued on:  2 September 2021

West Berkshire Council is set to welcome three families to the district under the Government’s Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme.

The scheme, which will see families welcomed within the next weeks, has been put in place to protect the human rights of Afghan Locally Employed Staff who have supported British Forces deployed in Afghanistan and are now at risk since they have withdrawn from the country.  As part of the scheme, local authorities have been asked to support the relocation of Afghan families and West Berkshire Council pledged to take part at Council in July. Following discussions with the Government, it has since agreed to host and support three families to build a new life in the UK.

The Council is working closely with partners including the NHS, the Police and others to bring forward the necessary arrangements and a multi-agency working group has been set up to support the families’ safe arrival and settlement in the district.

The families will be offered privately rented furnished accommodation with a fixed tenancy, support with school admissions, access to health care, financial aid, English language teaching and employment and training assistance as well as any other help they may need to settle in to the community on an ongoing basis. They will also receive indefinite leave to remain, ensuring that they can settle permanently and continue to build their lives and future in the UK. 

Commenting on the scheme, West Berkshire Council’s Leader, Councillor Lynne Doherty said:

“Locally Employed Staff in Afghanistan have served our country and supported our troops, often facing and working in very dangerous conditions for both them and their family, and deserve our support to relocate to a country where they can rebuild their lives and remain safe. This is why we’re proud to be one of the 34% of councils hosting families in our district, having committed to do so some weeks ago.

“By providing a comprehensive package including housing, healthcare, access to education, training and employment and designated support workers, we will ensure that the families are well supported in their new lives. We very much look forward to welcoming them and to helping them to become part of the West Berkshire community.

 “In the past few weeks we have also been inundated with offers of help from local residents and businesses will want to play their own part to help those who need us and I would encourage them to follow the links provided on the website to do so.”

How can I help?

We are pleased that so many local residents and businesses want to help the families with their relocation and want to make sure they are able to do so in a way that ensures the support offered is coordinated. We would encourage anyone who wishes to help to follow the links below in order to make their offer:

FAQs/Notes to editors

Who is coming to West Berkshire?

West Berkshire Council will be taking three families in to the district and will be supporting them to settle in the UK.

How is this being funded?

Central Government has committed to fund the scheme and West Berkshire Council will deliver on the ground support to ensure a safe transition for the families.

Details of the resettlement scheme can be found here

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