Council agrees to set up 'welcome centre' for Ukrainian refugees

ANTRIM and Newtownabbey Borough Council is set to identify a building to be used as a Welcome Centre for Ukranian refugees.

A full meeting of council was told last week that The Executive Office is leading the emergency response process in Northern Ireland, working in partnership with Councils and other statutory agencies in relation to responding to the needs of Ukrainian refugees entering Northern Ireland.

A report due before council said that this is anticipated to be a ‘significant exercise requiring partnership across government central and local and with other sectors’.

An initial meeting was held on March 14 2022 when ‘key actions were discussed’.

At this meeting councils were asked to design and deliver Welcome Centres in their local areas in partnership with public sector organisations and the community and voluntary sector.

This will include orientation centres as well as centres with short stay accommodation.

The report said: “It is recognised that there may be financial and resource implications related to such a request.

“This will be discussed further with local and central government as actions are costed.”

A council officer has said that as all existing Council assets are fully occupied, it is proposed that the Chief Executive be given delegated authority to identify a suitable asset to be used as a Welcome Centre for the Borough in line with guidance as the situation ‘develops in real time’.

It is anticipated that ‘an asset in close proximity to International Airport with least disruption to customers will be most suitable’.

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