Furniture is being given to refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine and elsewhere who are now living in Bristol as part of a £1.5 million scheme.
About 45 homes will be furnished each year in a bid to make refugees feel welcome as they arrive in the city from war zones.
Bristol City Council is receiving money for the household goods scheme from the Home Office, and last week the cabinet signed off plans to extend the scheme for a further five years. Councillors praised the refugee resettlement team for helping vulnerable people.
Homes are fully furnished with rugs, curtains, kitchen goods, toys for children, and wall decorations by a contractor. The majority of the homes go to Afghan refugees, with some going to families from Ukraine, including three families with children who have cancer.
During a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, December 6, Councillor Helen Holland, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “There’s pure joy when children who have been through traumatic experiences go into a house that we’ve been able to get for them, where the bedrooms have been appropriately decorated with everything that they could want in there. We should be very proud of what we do in Bristol.”
Up to £5,000 will be spent for each home as part of the scheme, increasing over the next five years to take into account inflation. Councillors praised Anne James, who leads the refugee resettlement team, for her work and dedication to making refugees feel welcome.
Cllr Asher Craig, cabinet member for education, said: “The way in which we’ve been able to adapt to all of the different crises that are going on, and the team has just moved seamlessly — Ukrainians, Syrians, unaccompanied minors, you name it — the team is absolutely brilliant. They go beyond delivering a service, they actually care.”
Cllr Ellie King, cabinet member for public health, added: “People can choose what they want in their house, and that’s the difference between a house and a home. There’s that choice allowing them to take ownership of the space and feel welcome and that this is their space and their city.”