Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

We've approved resettlement support for Afghan families that served alongside UK armed forces and government

Wednesday, 7 February 2024

15 Afghan refugee families who have risked their lives serving alongside the UK armed forces and government are to be housed for 3 years in vacant Ministry of Defence (MoD) properties at RAF Henlow.

This is after we approved Home Office funding.

The schemes will prioritise those who are at risk under Taliban control because they assisted the UK’s efforts in Afghanistan in standing up for values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech and the rule of law; and vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk.

The Home Office funding will take families out of temporary accommodation and into settled accommodation for 3 years, at zero cost to us, while they integrate into the UK and make their own decisions on future accommodation opportunities.

Only local authorities can apply for the funding, which will enable a well-established, locally based charity to carry out the resettlement, but the decision reflects our dedication to meeting its strategic priorities of promoting equality and ensuring sustainable solutions for Afghan families seeking refuge in the region.

Councillor Steven Watkins, our Executive Member for Business, Housing and Public Assets, said:

As a compassionate and responsible local authority, we recognise the plight of those who risked their lives in support of the UK's Armed Forces and His Majesty’s Government in Afghanistan, and we aim to provide a safe haven for them.

This decision, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence, will enable people to live their best lives and support them to be independent, while helping to improve educational outcomes for children and enhance the overall well-being of refugee families.

The Afghan refugee resettlement funding follows the establishment of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) in 2021, responding to the withdrawal of UK and allied armed forces from Afghanistan.

Having already supported the resettlement of 6 Afghan families since 2021, we also approved the acquisition of 12 homes for Afghan refugee resettlement in October 2023.