I was heartened to see the outpouring of compassion from the communities of West Dunbartonshire. We were among the first areas in the UK to provide safe harbour for Syrian families and tens of thousands of clothing and monetary donations were made through community led groups to support people coming to Scotland as well as those still enduring desperate conditions in refugee camps from Europe to the Middle East.
I met the first Syrian families to arrive in West Dunbartonshire and I am pleased to say that they have been made to feel very welcome by the local community. Not only have there been no negative incidents, but the local community have been actively involved in their integration though community led events in the local centres and through the local schools and nurseries. The refugees themselves have featured in BBC and STV broadcasts thanking and praising the people of Clydebank for their sanctuary and friendship.
The Council staff have done also done a great job, fully funded by the UK Government’s International Aid budget, in supporting these vulnerable people and ensuring that they are able to make a home here, far away from the deadly devastation in Syria.
Yet the UK Government needs to do more, especially to support unaccompanied children and I will continue to push for a moral stance to be taken.