A Holiday Inn in North Somerset has been chosen as temporary accommodation for nearly 170 refugees awaiting a decision on their asylum claims. Authorities reportedly began placing refugees at the site at the end of April.
The budget hotel in the Redhill area was previously used extensively by Bristol Airport commuters, but is now being repurposed for the government-run asylum dispersal scheme. From 2001, the scheme disperses asylum seekers to local council areas for temporary accommodation and board while their claim is processed.
While awaiting a decision, they will have access to most hotel facilities such as dining rooms and indoor recreation areas, while enjoying three meals a day. North Somerset Blagdon and Churchill councilor Patrick Keating told Bristol Live refugees started being placed there about a week ago.
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He said he and Councilor Steve Hogg would visit the hotel on May 2 and said: “We just want to understand the situation to find out how things are progressing at the hotel, what needs people may have there, how we can act as a local community to support them, so in terms of education, clothing donations, access to activities, that sort of thing.
He said using the hotel was a temporary arrangement and added that the time the refugees would spend there would depend on how long it would take to process their asylum applications. In a joint statement, the advisers said: “North Somerset Council is supporting the government’s Asylum Dispersal Scheme, which provides temporary accommodation for people seeking asylum in the UK.
“As Ward Councilors we welcome the opportunity to provide support to vulnerable people fleeing the most desperate situations. We want to work with our communities to demonstrate that North Somerset is a place ready to welcome refugees and asylum seekers – offering safety, shelter and an opportunity to rebuild lives.
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“Under the scheme, the Home Office has block-booked a hotel in the Redhill area, with a maximum capacity of 168 people, including rooms suitable for people with disabilities and care and support needs. This accommodation includes three meals a day and access to communal dining areas, as well as indoor and outdoor recreation areas and private meeting rooms.
“Residents can also access services offering medical and legal assistance, as well as translation services and cell phones that can be used for individual calls. We will work with local parish councils to determine how our communities can better support hotel residents with cultural and educational activities, recreation and clothing donations.