A summit of religious, community and political representatives has pledged its support for a group of Syrian refugees who are set to arrive in Renfrewshire in the next few weeks.
The meeting of the Renfrewshire Refugee Support Group , chaired by Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley, was also attended by local and national political representatives.
Renfrewshire will be welcoming 50 refugees. They are coming to Scotland under the UK Government’s Vulnerable Persons Scheme which helps people displaced as a result of the civil war in Syria.
Bishop Keenan said: “I know there have already been expressions of interest from individuals and community groups who want to play their part in helping the newcomers settle in and fully become part of our community.
“The people coming here are refugees. Perhaps another way of thinking about them is to understand that they are individuals who have faced extraordinary circumstances and hardship. They have lost their homes, their community, and their country. Many of them will have lost loved ones in the conflict. Imagine how we would feel if that happened to us or our families.
“They are coming halfway round the world to build a new life.
“The community of Renfrewshire has already shown its support for locally-organised aid efforts. I look forward to us continuing that same spirit of concern and support.
“I feel I can vouch for the characteristic warm hearts and open arms of the Scots to give them a good tartan welcome. Our country is known all over the world for our friendliness and sense of universal brotherhood. Our national poet, Burns, taught us ‘That Man to Man, the world o’er, Shall brothers be for a’ that’, and any Scot knows that, for all our great inventions, the best of them all was our invention of a brotherhood of peoples and nations.
“So I have no doubt we will show them the best of Caledonian welcomes and prove ourselves the best of buddies to them.”