MORAY IS READY to lay out a warm welcome for four Syrian refugee families who are expected to arrive in the Forres area within days.
Coordinated efforts involving the NHS, Moray Council and police are being organised by the Moray Community Planning Partnership who are determined to make the transition to life in the region as smooth as possible for the families.
A spokesman for Moray Council has said that Moray is prepared to play its part in the largest humanitarian emergency in a generation, with representatives of the MCPP set to meet the families at the airport and then guide them through the transition period.
Laurence Findlay said: “These families are going to need time and space to adjust to living here – the MCPP has been working to try and ensure that this all goes as smoothly as possible.”
At the forefront of the effort to welcome the families and make settling into their new surroundings as comfortable as possible has been the Moray Supporters Refugees group, formed last year by members of the public drawing on all available resources to help as far as possible.
Aberlour minister the Rev Shuna Dicks has led that group in organising public donations – with calls coming in “almost daily” offering assistance and donations including the vital household goods the families will require.
She said: “I receive daily calls offering clothes, camping and household goods – a warm welcome is something our new neighbours can expect.”
Forres was chosen as the destination for the first families to arrive in Moray because of the availability of school places and housing.
Local residents in the town are planning a welcome lunch of their own for the Syrian families, for whom the costs of resettlement in the UK are being paid by the Home Office and the Department for International Development.