Duke of Cambridge Prince William visits Leeds hotel housing Afghan refugees
The Duke of Cambridge has today visited a Leeds hotel being used to accommodate refugees evacuated from Afghanistan.
The second in line to the British throne is visiting to learn how local authorities and charities are working together to support people in rebuilding their lives.
The Duke spoke directly to Afghans who have newly arrived in the country and those more settled in the community, about their experiences and challenges as they have fled Afghanistan and have arrived in Yorkshire.
He has also met staff from the hotel, Leeds City Council and charities including the Refugee Council, who have responded to the crisis by providing practical help, food, clothes, integration in the local community and mental health support.
Prince William visits Yorkshire and Humber on the same day that councils in the region announce their pledge to welcome around 1,000 refugees under the Afghan resettlement programmes.
All 15 councils in the Yorkshire and Humber region have pledged to resettle Afghans who have supported the British forces or are refugees whose lives were in imminent danger in Afghanistan.
Dave Brown, Head of Migration Yorkshire said: “For those people who had to flee for their lives from Afghanistan, it was an incredible boost and an honour seeing the Duke of Cambridge, and also for all those who have worked tirelessly to support them.
"Yorkshire and Humber always responds well where there is humanitarian need, and I’m proud to see us welcoming our fair share of people to help them find safety and rebuild their lives."
So far 300 people have been resettled in the Yorkshire and Humber region. With 12,000 refugees from Afghanistan currently in hotels across the country, this work is critical in helping families resettle and rebuild their lives.
Yorkshire and Humber has been at the forefront of the UK’s refugee resettlement for over 20 years, being the first region in the UK to accept every major group of refugees since the first Kosovans arrived into Leeds Bradford airport under the Humanitarian Evacuation Programme in 1999. Resettlement in the area is delivered by Migration Yorkshire and local authorities working closely with the Refugee Council and other charities.
Enver Solomon, Chief Executive of Refugee Council said: “It was a real privilege to meet with the Duke of Cambridge today and show him the work the Refugee Council have been doing to support families who had to flee Afghanistan. It’s truly heart breaking that so many men, women and children had to leave their whole lives behind to escape terror and persecution through no fault of their own.
"Every day our vital support services are helping people rebuild their lives here in the UK and we should be proud as a nation that we have given them the safety and security they so desperately needed.”
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