Afghan refugees to be housed at Weeton Barracks near Blackpool
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Up to 55 Afghan families will begin arriving at Weeton Barracks from Friday (November 10) where they will be handed the keys to housing usually reserved for soldiers and their families.
The Ministry of Defence said the Afghans have been granted a legal right to remain in the UK after risking their lives working for and alongside UK forces during the war in Afghanistan.
So far, around 24,600 at-risk Afghans have been permanently relocated to the UK after their lives were deemed at risk under the Taliban following the withdrawal of US and UK troops from Afghanistan in 2021.
At Weeton, they will be housed in service family accommodation ‘outside the wire’ of the barracks in Singleton Road – housing stock that is not currently required by service families.
The MoD will provide all the required care for the families which will include basic provisions, employment support, health, education, and orientation to help them settle permanently in the UK.
The maximum stay for any family will be six weeks whilst the MoD arranges settled accommodation for the Afghans in the region or elsewhere in the UK.
The barracks will be used until all the families have been moved into permanent accommodation or until the 1st Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment returns from its deployment in Cyprus next year.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “We are currently looking to house up to 55 families in Service Family Accommodation properties in Weeton Barracks.
"These individuals have a legal right to be in the UK and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all who worked for, or with, UK forces in Afghanistan.
"That’s why we have committed to relocating all ARAP-eligible Afghans and their families to the UK – a commitment we will honour.
"The MOD has offered SFA homes to Local Authorities (LAs) to provide ARAP-eligible Afghan families with transitional and settled housing.
“We will temporarily house families in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties in the Weeton Barracks area from November 10, 2023 on a transitional basis while they await more settled accommodation across the UK.
"These properties are not currently in use by service personnel, and we are working to ensure that disruption to our people is minimised.”
Statement from Fylde Council
A spokesperson for Fylde Council said: “The council was informed by the Ministry of Defence that 55 of the existing housing units at Weeton Barracks will be used to temporarily accommodate eligible Afghans who supported the UK’s presence in Afghanistan.
"These individuals and their families have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
"The properties in Weeton Barracks will be used as transitional accommodation for Afghan families, with arrivals starting from November 10, 2023.
"The MOD will provide all the required care for the families which will include basic provisions, employment support, health, education, and orientation to the UK.
"The maximum stay for any family will be six weeks whilst the MoD arrange settled accommodation around the UK.
“The barracks will be used until all the families have been in settled accommodation or the regiment is scheduled to occupy the barracks in 2024.
“The council is grateful for the support the Afghan refugees provided to our forces during the recent conflict and will look to engage the families with the local community during their short stay at the barracks.”