Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Borough Council
Excellent news that Rossana Leal has received this award – it’s well-deserved, for her inspirational role in helping Syrian refugees settle here in Hastings.
Hastings Council agreed to accept and find homes for 100 Syrian refugees in Hastings as part of the government’s Syrian Refugee Programme (now Vulnerable Persons’ Refugee Programme, as not all the refugees are from Syria). Other district councils in East Sussex only agreed to accept 40, so the programme across East Sussex has been organised from Hastings, mostly by staff working for the council.
Around 90 Syrian refugees have now been accepted in Hastings. It’s been remarkably successful, but that couldn’t have happened without Rossana’s ‘Buddy Project’, bringing together local volunteers to help the refugees settle in their new homes and find their way around.
I think we can all feel proud that Hastings has proved to be such a welcoming place for refugees and asylum seekers (not just through this programme), but we can be especially proud of, and grateful to, Rossana for what she’s achieved.
This statement originally appeared on Peter’s Facebook page and is re-published here with permission.