SYRIAN refugees who have settled in Rugby have thanked townspeople for giving them such a warm welcome.
Two families forced to flee their war-torn home arrived last November as part of a nationwide government re-settlement plan.
And to show their appreciation the families, whose identity is being guarded so as not to disrupt their re-settlement, will mark the end of Ramadan by cooking a traditional Syrian meal next week for those who have have supported and helped them settle.
Supported by Warwickshire County Council, charities and support groups such as Refugees Welcome in Rugby, the families are learning English, volunteering in a charity shop, and their children are settled in local schools.
And despite the difficult task of leaving their homeland and the life they knew, the families have a positive outlook on their future in Rugby.
One family member said: “We miss our country, our friends and relatives and hope that peace comes soon. We left everything, and it’s not easy.
“First we want to learn English and work in this country. We want to pay taxes and we do not want help from the government. We look forward to that in the future.
“We always want the best for our children, and we want them to finish school and go to university.”
“We are happy and thank the helpful people of Rugby who see us as part of the Rugby community.
“We love cooking our traditional Syrian food, and we want to share it with friends who have been so kind since we arrived.”
Slyvie Summer, a volunteer with Refugees Welcome Rugby, also thanked the community.
She said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the goodwill of Rugby people who have donated their time and skills, whether it’s as a private landlord, a language tutor, or simply a friendly face.”
The families have spoken of their children’s happiness and welcome from the school where they are already speaking good English and enjoying swimming lessons.
Eight more Syrian families are are set to be re-settled in Rugby over the next four years. Some 20,000 refugees are expected to settle in Britain by 2020.
The resettlement scheme – described as one of the largest in UK history – includes support with housing, education and health care needs.
Rugby residents and volunteers will celebrate the start of Refugee Week on Saturday June 17, with a free poetry writing workshop and reading at Rugby Library.
Visit www.eventbrite.co.uk and search Rugby refugee to book a place.