Crawley Question Time 2022: ‘We need to welcome refugees like we would our neighbours’

A panel of experts from Crawley discussed what more can be done to help not just Ukrainian refugees but also refugees from Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Crawley Question Time was hosted at Crawley College Wednesday, March 10 and included a panel of guests from the key sectors that form the town.

The panel featured Councillor Peter Lamb, Councillor Duncan Crow, Councillor Michael Jones, Chief Inspector Shane Baker, Deputy Youth Mayor Shelly Sharma, Dr Pennie Ford and Dr Laura Hill.

Crawley has already seen a great response from the local community in helping provide essential supplies to people who have been affected by the crisis in Ukraine.

Some 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded two weeks ago, and another two million have been internally displaced by the war, the United Nations said on March 11, 2022. (Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP) (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images)

However, residents who are heavily involved with local refugees want more resources to help refugees living in Crawley to get more access to education, housing and employment.

Daniel Armstrong from Spotted: Crawley, asked : “What is the Council doing to help support people who have been affected by the crisis in Ukraine?”

Cllr Duncan Crow, replied: “I’m not aware of any issues from the Ukrainian people that the Council will be able to get involved in and assist with. They would need to get in touch with the Home Office, or government departments if they need to locate family.

“I will talk about refugees as it's something that will be happening. Currently the County Council has been leading on Afghan refugees and we have a good team who have been able to bring people over and provide them with the necessities they need to establish a new life over here.

“With Ukrainian refugees it's a very new situation and we are likely to see even more people fleeing the country in the following weeks. I’m very confident that our country will have a scheme for Ukrainian refugees.

“It’s a very worrying time for all of them and they have our sympathies.”

Cllr Peter Lamb, replied: “In terms of actual stats, its a sizeable amount of people and we are ready to help them the best way we can. We are prepared to support people and have a Ukrainian flag up at the Town Hall, which was requested by the community to show solidarity.

“Crawley has played a significant role in helping refugees who come to the UK and we will continue to do the best way we can.”

Shelly Sharma, Deputy Youth Mayor, said: “I completely agree with what Peter said and we also need to bare in mind that the war in Ukraine isn’t the only war that is happening as there are people struggling in Palestine, Yemen and Syria. We need to bear that in mind as there is so much going on in the world.

‘We need to welcome refugees with open hands and welcome them like we would with our neighbours.”

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