An Angus minister says more needs to be done to support refugees and help them resettle in Tayside.
Rev Barbara Ann Sweetin, minister for East and Old Parish Church in Forfar, spoke out after Angus Council agreed last week to continue its commitment to supporting refugees locally.
Rev Sweetin took in Thaer, Manar and their three children for a short holiday last year, after they were forced to flee from Syria and were then displaced from Lebanon.
She is looking forward to taking in another family next month, but says more needs to be done to support the resettlement of refugees in Angus.
She said: “The family we took in last year were delightful.
“Listening to their story really brought it home – we hear the stories on television and in the newspapers and think ‘that’s awful’, but actually meeting them was different.
“I would like to see more refugees being supported. I know a lot of people say there are too many refugees – you hear that a lot – but these people are so deserving and need help.
“We have got so much, we really do, and we should be doing a lot more than we are.
“Angus is doing its bit but everyone needs to do a little bit more.”
She added: “How would we feel if something happened in this country and we had to leave with just a suitcase?
“It is just horrifying.
“After hosting a Syrian family, we’re disappointed there are no Syrians resettled in Forfar.”
Angus Council vowed last year to support the charity Safe Passage’s ‘Our Turn’ initiative, which would see households taking in at least three unaccompanied child refugees per year for the next 10 years.
Since 2015, over 40 refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Sudan have resettled in Angus, including a number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and four babies born in the UK since their family resettled.
At last week’s meeting councillors reaffirmed their commitment to support refugees.
Councillor Ben Lawrie said: “Our country is at its best when we are helping people, whether it’s helping people like my grandad who was evacuated during the Second World War, or taking in those from further afield.
“That is what makes me proud to be British.
“There have been 40 refugees resettled in Angus, but ‘there is no room at the inn’ is something I never want to say.”
Councillor Lois Speed added: “Refugees enhance and strengthen our communities and many refugees are fleeing war-torn environments and humanitarian crises, and often they come traumatised.
“We should always be welcome and open to help improve the life chances of these vulnerable refugees.”