RESETTLED Syrian families have spoken of their desire to play their part in Stirling’s future after finding a new home in the city.

Five families have found safety and a new start to life in the heart of Scotland after fleeing persecution, destruction and the humanitarian crisis that has ravaged their country in recent years. 

Under the UK’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, 20,000 refugees will be resettled across Britain, with Scotland pledging to take in 10 per cent of that figure.

That target was reached in December last year, and includes five families who arrived in Stirling.

In a bid to help them settle in their new surroundings, the council has provided vital assistance through education, language and skills training to help the families integrate with local life and customs, learn English and find work in the community.

And to celebrate their progress, a provost’s reception was held at Codebase in the City Centre yesterday (Tuesday).

Stirling Provost Christine Simpson said: "The courage shown by these families to not only flee the devastation and constant fear they were facing every day in their own homes, but to come to somewhere completely new and integrate so well is utterly remarkable.

"I want to thank everyone in the council and local community who have made an effort to resettle these families and have shown Stirling to be the welcoming place we all know it is.

"Stirling should be proud of the way it has played its part in helping these families restart their lives in an unfamiliar land, providing them with safety and security and I’m sure everyone here looks forward to the contribution our new residents will make to the community."

The afternoon began with a speech from Scott Farmer, Stirling Council leader, who welcomed the area’s new citizens and stated that inclusion and participation would lie at the heart of their time in the city.

The event also provided an opportunity for the resettled families to discuss their own experiences, including one man who underlined his ambition to find work in the community.

Speaking to the group in English, he said: “We have done a lot of good things since we came here. We work on a daily basis to make progress in learning English and looking for a job.

“As a result of the economic situation in Syria before the war, most Syrians have a large number of industrial skills. They often have more than one job and we have a great desire and motivation to start working here and contribute to the construction of the City of Stirling with our energy and experience.

“I hope in the future that we will be able to give and produce and be better integrated with the community. We would like to say thank you to all who have helped us achieve integration here so far, and thank you to Stirling.”

Following the speeches, a group of women from the newly resettled families joined together to deliver a poem inspired by their journey from Syria, as well as discuss a book of children’s stories which they had written in Arabic and English.

Ayman Jarjour, a local Syrian musician, also stunned guests with his intricate guitar playing, while traditional Syrian food was provided by the women who had received food hygiene training from the council and used the event to build on their catering experience.

The event was organised by Jonathan Sharp, Stirling Council support and integration officer, who said: This was a fantastic way to bring the families closer to the community they have joined and showcase their success.

“Stirling Council has worked with these families to help them start their new lives and I’m delighted to see such great strides being made. It’s important that their achievements are recognised as they continue to integrate with our community. 

“The upheaval they have gone through to get here can’t be underestimated but to see the ambition and desire they have to make themselves part of the fabric of Stirling is truly impressive.”