Refugees to be moved into new Northamptonshire accommodation as councillor says hotel is ‘not fit for purpose’

The councillor claims the hotel has no communal area or outside space for families

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:58 pm
Councillor Danielle Stone has said one of the hotels where Afghan refugees are housed in Northampton is 'not fit for purpose'.

A group of refugees from Afghanistan who have been resettled in Northamptonshire will move accommodation after concerns have been raised about its suitability.

Two Northamptonshire hotels, which Chronicle & Echo has chosen not to name, have opened their doors to a combined total of more than 200 refugees as part of the Government’s resettlement scheme.

According to West Northamptonshire Councillor Danielle Stone, acting as part of Northampton Town of Sanctuary, one hotel is working well but the other is currently ‘not fit for purpose’.

She claims it has no communal, kitchen or outside spaces, making it unsuitable for families with children.

Cllr Stone told this newspaper: “It’s okay now when they can go outside. But as the winter roles in and the nights get darker it will be harder for them.

“I think we have got two contrasting situations; one [hotel] is working and one is not.

“Where you have got a good location lots of things are possible. When it’s a bad location nothing is.

“It’s really hard to meet the needs of the children.”

The Home Office has since confirmed the refugees living in the 'unsuitable' hotel will be moved to new accommodation.

Cllr Stone also claims that the Government department has failed to deliver important documents in the form of identification and preloaded cards.

These would be used to help refugees buy necessary goods or services.

Originally promised for delivery once they left quarantine, the Afghan families are reportedly still waiting for these documents.

While it is understood that they are coming, Cllr Stone blames Home Office ‘inefficiency’ for the delay.

She said: “It will make everyone feel disempowered and unable to do what they want to do.

“These are people with aspirations and they will want to settle and to do well.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “A significant cross Government effort is underway to ensure the thousands of Afghans who were evacuated to the UK receive the support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education, and integrate into their local communities.

“We continue to work with local authorities to source appropriate accommodation as quickly as possible, although we continue to have to use hotels as a temporary measure due to unprecedented demand.

“Here, they receive full board meals and all essential items they need.

“We are working at pace to provide them with pre-loaded cards so they can be independent and buy these essentials themselves.”

An online fundraiser has been launched by Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire in a bid to raise £15,000 for refugee families. Donate here.