Ashford Borough Council has been singled out for a special achievement award in recognition of its unrivalled commitment to welcoming and resettling Syrian refugees.
The Ashford team responsible for the resettlement of Syrian refugees was honoured at the annual Kent Housing Group and Joint Policy and Planning Board Excellence Awards. The awards celebrate outstanding individuals, teams or projects who have gone that ‘extra mile’ to ensure excellent service for communities across Kent and Medway.
The Ashford Borough Council team at the awards ceremony pictured above from left to right are Sylvia Garde, Esme Ervine, Julie Stalker, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, former Syrian refugee Ola Albomani, Chief Executive Tracey Kerly, Christy Holden from KCC, Rebecca Wilcox, Anne Forbes and Mark James.
Three years ago, Ashford pledged to receive up to 250 refugees over the five years of the Government’s national Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme. It was one of the first to respond and worked closely with the UNHCR and the Home Office, who have previously commended Ashford’s excellent handling of the intake of refugees.
Today, 21 Syrian families, totalling 98 refugees, call Ashford home and have been grateful for the overwhelmingly positive response from the communities in which they have settled.
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said the authority was humbled to receive the Outstanding Achievement in Housing award, added: “The Syrian refugee families have been welcomed and embraced by the community. Huge praise must go to the council staff who have worked so hard to ensure that so much good has come from this initiative.”
Ashford Borough Council Chief Executive Tracey Kerly said: “I am very proud of such committed staff who are dedicated in their roles to deliver excellent services to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
Cllr Gerald White, Ashford Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, congratulated all those honoured: “Success in the awards demonstrates how astute local authorities can deliver high-quality homes and services despite unrelenting pressures on budgets.”