Health and Social Care Moray's Refugee Resettlement Team call on community groups to get involved in helping Ukrainian arrivals
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HEALTH and Social Care Moray kicked off their first information session for Ukrainian refugees this week, with the newly-formed Refugee Resettlement Team beginning the process of helping the new arrivals settle in Moray.
The information sessions will be held every Monday for six weeks from 10am to 1pm in Elgin Community Centre and will focus on providing practical and emotional support for refugees.
The first phase of the resettlement has seen around 60 Ukrainian refugees move to Moray under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and around 50 of the new arrivals attended the support session on Monday.
Carmen Gillies, who is leading the Refugee Resettlement Team, said: "The first session has been really well attended and we've had really good feedback, which is been great.
"One of the key things families have asked us for was to meet with other refugees in the area, so we made sure to facilitate that."
Tracey Peden, part of the resettlement team, added: "We've seen lots of people exchanging phone numbers, chatting and nurturing a sense of community.
"The kids have had a chance to play with each other and it has been really heart-warming to see the children smiling, happy and forming friendships with one another."
Although the first session has mostly focused on providing important practical information on registering for healthcare, financial support and education, the team hope to keep delivering the sessions and would like to adapt them with time to offer more opportunities for community integration.
To do this the team are calling on community groups to offer their services.
St. Sylvester's Church in Elgin have already begun offering free English language tutoring classes but the Refugee Resettlement Team are also keen to hear from other groups who can offer support.
Mrs Gillies said: "We would welcome community groups to come to the sessions if they feel there is anything they can offer to help broaden the resources and support that we can deliver.
"One thing that Moray is renowned for is its community spirit and it is so important to come together as a community to support and help the Ukrainian refugees as best we can, so we would really like other people from connected community groups to join in with our efforts and offer their support.
"We would really encourage people to come along to the drop in sessions, whether they are a host, a new arrival or a community group so we can give the best support possible to the new arrivals."
The Health and Social Care Moray team are in the process of setting up a dedicated Refugee Resettlement Team, with Roy Geddes due to start as Project Manager in June.
The team are also looking for people willing to work as translators and would encourage anyone with any questions to contact the team by email at email@example.com.