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Tonbridge & Malling council helps Afghan family resettle after airlift escape

Tuesday 21st December 2021

Tonbridge and Malling has welcomed its first family from Afghanistan following the summer’s mass airlift of civilians fleeing the Taliban.

The couple and their four children, who are belived to be of school age, have been resettled in private accommodation after a landlord responded to an appeal for suitable refugees' homes.

Many of those who have been found housing in Kent were working for the UK government in skilled roles but who would have been targeted by the oppressive Taliban regime.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (TMBC) joined forces with Kent County Council and more than 300 other local authorities nationwide to find private landlords to avoid putting pressure on social housing.

A TMBC spokesman said: "Following a period in temporary accommodation, the family with young children is now settling into their home and being given support to help them restart their lives in a new country.

"In its first year, the scheme is expected to provide similar support across the UK to around 5,000 people from Afghanistan who were evacuated when the Taliban took control in August."

Cllr Kim Tanner, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: "It’s hard for many of us to imagine how traumatic the experience has been for this family and all those forced to flee their homes.

"Losing everything and starting again in an unfamiliar country is incredibly tough. I’m delighted we can do our bit to help and make them feel welcome in our borough.

"I would also like to thank the landlord concerned for responding to our appeal and the many individuals and organisations, including Tonbridge Welcomes Refugees, who have stepped up to support this family and others like them as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives."

Two government schemes are supporting Afghan families – the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

Any landlords able to offer accommodation to families in similar circumstances can get in touch with the council’s housing team via email at housing.services@tmbc.gov.uk.

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