On the BBC news on Monday, Will of Great Torrington, North Devon was angry about the arrival in his area of 20 youths from Syria and Afghanistan who will be living in a safe local council facility until they are settled elsewhere.
He said: ‘We’re a local close-knit small community and we don’t want that lot here. Send them back where they come from. Why is it our problem? We can’t look after our own. Why look after everybody else. Disgusting.’ And on being told that they would shortly be moving on and that any costs are being borne by Government, he continued: ‘Wednesday I’ve been told and that’s two days too long.’
Many share his views. I do not. I cannot. As Sharon in the same interview said, the situation they are in is not their fault. Our television screens show us night after night the absolute desolation of where they come from. For those from Syria, bombed out of their homes by their own government. For those from Afghanistan, living in terror from powerful terrorist groups. How can I, living in the comfort and safety of Gainsborough turn my back on such need and utter devastation?
In answer to Will of Great Torrington, could I suggest that we here in Gainsborough offer to do our bit by taking in some families. We too are a small community, but taking some families in might help us to understand what they have gone through, and for the older members of our communities bring back proud memories of the time when our towns and cities were devastated by war.
Marshalls Rise, Gainsborough