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Tiverton extends welcome to asylum seekers


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Local authorities and the Tiverton community are working together to welcome and support asylum seekers who arrived in the town last month as part of the Home Office’s national asylum seeker dispersal process.

The Home Office block-booked a hotel in the town as temporary accommodation to help cope with the high volume of individuals entering the UK and now seeking permission to stay permanently in this country.

The initial group that are being accommodated at the hotel are mostly single adults from a wide range of Middle Eastern and other countries, although families with children could also be accommodated as needed.

All have been initially assessed and registered at a national centre, prior to arriving in Devon.

Whilst all basic needs for food, shelter, and urgent welfare are being provided at the hotel and funded directly by the Home Office, local agencies including Devon County Council, Mid Devon District Council, local NHS health services and the Police are all working closely together to help and support residents and to ensure the ongoing health and wellbeing of all concerned.

Mid Devon District Council has been overwhelmed with donations of clothing for the group, and has been working with the local charity, Churches Housing Action Team (CHAT) to coordinate practical support.

Councillor Sue Griggs, Mayor of Tiverton Town Council, said:

“We are a close community in Tiverton, and I know that our residents are extending a warm hand of welcome to our guests while they are here.  These are people who have fled their native countries out of desperation and undertaken journeys, by whatever means, to find safety in the UK.

“It is the Home Office’s job to assess and process their applications to stay, but for the short period that they will be with us in Devon, I’d like us all to help welcome them to the town.”

Mid Devon District Council has already received many calls from members of the public, volunteers and organisations offering their support to help the town’s new guests. 

Councillor Bob Deed, Leader of Mid Devon District Council, said:

“We have been overwhelmed with the volume of clothing that the local community have donated. I want to thank everyone who has kindly reached out to offer their support so far.

“We are also looking at ways to help the individuals with their wider needs and physical and mental wellbeing, including access to language classes, religious and cultural support, and finding things to do such as playing sport and other entertainment.”

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for communities, said:

“The accommodation is being provided on a temporary basis and individuals are likely to be dispersed through the Home Office system to longer-term accommodation across the country as and when possible.  We are extending our hand of welcome to those arrivals, and will do all we can to support the Home Office process.”

For offers of community support, please email health@middevon.gov.uk.


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