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Further support for new families who contributed to the UK’s military operations in Afghanistan

In addition to the Vale of White Horse District Council’s recently announced* support for Afghan families, The Ministry of Defence is providing short term temporary homes in the Vale of White Horse for a number of new families arriving directly from overseas who have supported the UK’s military operations in Afghanistan.

The new families are arriving this month directly from abroad under the Home Office’s Afghan Resettlement Accommodation Policy (ARAP) scheme. They will be supported by the MOD using a range of health and educational services provided on-site. This short-term, transitional accommodation for families provided by the MOD is an important part of the relocation and resettlement journey for these Afghan families before they then move to their settled accommodation and begin to rebuild their lives in the UK. 

Simultaneously, families are being moved this month from hotel accommodation into repurposed military homes that are being managed by the district council as temporary accommodation for Afghan guests.  This is part of the council’s direct work with Afghan guests, effectively acting as landlords and managing the properties, and providing advice and guidance on living in the UK and the local area. This will provide a stable home for around 18 months to 24 months, while the council works with the families to establish themselves independently and move on to longer term homes.

Support for families who put themselves at risk to work or fight alongside the British armed forces is already in place through local partnerships between the district council, Ministry of Defence and local organisations.  

In addition to the 44 properties already being prepared by Vale of White Horse District Council to accommodate Afghan families leaving hotel accommodation, 27 properties have been identified in Shrivenham as short-term, transitional accommodation.

All families staying in these 27 properties will remain the responsibility of the MOD for the short time they are there. After around six weeks, the families may be matched to local MOD accommodation or elsewhere in the UK.

Cllr Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member for Community Health and Wellbeing at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “We continue to extend a warm welcome to those new families arriving in the district under the ARAP scheme – they stood alongside us, putting themselves in harm’s way during our country’s military operations in Afghanistan.

“Whilst we are now rolling out our plan to lease and manage properties at MOD sites in the Vale for our Afghan guests, we’re working closely with our MOD and local authority partners to help the additional new families arriving.”

Vale of White Horse District Council works alongside partner authorities, health organisations, residents, community groups and voluntary sector organisations in Oxfordshire to help provide safe shelter and support to refugees and asylum seekers from countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine, and the Hong Kong British National visa scheme.

*See press release on our website: The Vale steps up to help families who supported the UK’s military operations in Afghanistan

About the ARAP scheme:
The ARAP scheme is a resettlement scheme for those brave Afghans who worked for, or with, the UK Government and British Armed Forces in Afghanistan in exposed or meaningful roles.

Afghan citizens who are eligible for relocation to the UK under ARAP may relocate with a partner, dependent children and additional family members who are deemed eligible by the MOD, and suitable for relocation by the Home Office.  These people are not asylum seekers and have a legal right to remain in the UK.